Lincoln, Neb.- The Nebraska women's track and field team completed the 2012 Big Ten Indoor Track and Field Championships in historic fashion with a 114.50-106 win over defending champion Ohio State. The 2012 Championship makes the Huskers back-to-back indoor conference champions as they captured the Big 12 Indoor Conference Championship in 2011. Producing three individual champions during the two-day meet, the Husker women earned the second Big Ten title in school history and the first team title for the track and field program.
The win also adds to the historic 31-year resume of Head Coach Gary Pepin, who now holds 68 conference titles dating back to his first Big Eight win at the 1981 indoor meet.
While the men led for a majority of the meet, they could not overcome late-meet surges from Indiana and Minnesota. The Hoosiers took the men's title with a total of 104 points, while defending-champion Minnesota was second with 100 points. The Husker men finished third with 99 points.
Mara Griva was the Nebraska's lone Big Ten champion on the day, securing the title in the women's triple jump. Griva notched a season-best jump of 42-9 1/2 (13.04) to take top honors and earn her second indoor conference triple jump title.
With three events remaining in the heptathlon, Bjorn Barrefors entered the day in fourth place. Barrefors used a personal best performance in the pole vault to guide him to a second-place finish with a total of 5,792. Japeth Cato of Wisconsin secured the heptathlon title with a total of 5,902 points. Teran Walford finished with a total of 5,132 points, while posting a personal-best time of 2:41.79 in the 1,000 meters.
In the men's triple jump, Chris Phipps used a jump of 51-0 1/4 (15.55) to finish in third-place. Patrick Raedler took fourth with a leap of 51-0 (15.54). Iowa's Troy Doris took home the event title with a mark of 52-1 3/4 (15.89).
In the women's high jump, Marusa Cernjul finished fourth with a jump of 5-9 1/4 (1.76), while Jillanna Scanlan took sixth, notching a leap of 5-8 (1.73). Michigan State's Rebecca Buccholtz took home the high jump title with a mark of 5-10 1/2 (1.79).
In other field events, Victoria Zimmerman finished with a throw of 64-8 3/4 (19.73) to finish sixth in the women's weight throw. Dani Bunch of Purdue took the event title with a throw of 68-8 (20.93).
Following a stellar outing on Friday, Ashley Miller finished second in the women's mile Saturday afternoon, just missing claiming her second Big Ten title of the weekend. Miller recorded a time of 4:40.53 en route to her runner-up finish behind Penn State's Caitlin Lane, who notched a time of 4:39.90.
Jessica Furlan led Nebraska in the women's 800 meters, recording a personal-best time of 2:07.49 to finish fourth. Additionally, Blaire Dinsdale used a personal-best time of 2:08.97 to take seventh. Rebecca Addison of Michigan finished first with a time of 2:06.07.
Ricco Hall led the Husker sprinters on the day, starting out competition by narrowly missing out on his first Big Ten title in the 400 meters. Hall notched a personal-best time of 46.53 to take first in his section, however Minnesota's Harun Abda answered with a time of 46.51 in his section to notch the event title.
Tim Thompson finished seventh in the men's 60 meters with a time of 6.88, while Andrew Riley of Illinois captured the event title with a time of 6.62. On the women's side, Mara Weekes took sixth with a time of 7.52. Christina Manning of Ohio State notched the event crown with a mark of 7.23.
In the women's 60-meter hurdles, Mila Andric notched a personal-best performance with a time of 8.60. At the completion of the 60-meter hurdles, the Nebraska women held a slim lead over Ohio State. On the men's side, Miles Ukaoma finished with a time of 8.00. After the hurdles, the men were leading Ohio State 78-75.
Ellie Grooters helped out the Huskers with a third-place finish in the women's 600 meters, finishing with a personal-best time of 1:28.84. After the women's 600 meters, Ohio State took the lead over the Husker women, 85-81.50. Tommy Brinn used a strong performance in the men's 600 meters, taking second behind a personal-best time of 1:17.63. At that point, the Husker men continued to lead the pack with an 86-79 advantage. In the women's 200 meters, Mara Weekes notched a personal-best performance to lead the Huskers as she finished in third place. She recorded a time of 23.69, bettering her previous best of 24.14.
Miller came back in the 5,000 meters to etch her name yet again into the Husker record books as she posted a personal-best time of 16:22.70 for second-place. Her time ranks second all-time in the Husker records. With the performance, Miller helped the Husker women advance their lead in the team race while also contributing to what became an impressive weekend for the senior from Tipton, Iowa.
The women finished the meet with a fifth-place finish in the 4x400 meter relay and a time of 3:40.72 behind the efforts of Andric, Weekes, Brooke Dinsdale and Grooters. With the performance, the Husker women secured their first Big Ten Indoor Championship. The men would fall to eighth in the 4x400 meter relay, notching a time of 3:12.60 behind Jodi-Rae Blackwood, Ukaoma, Brinn and Dexter McKenzie. The Husker men could not capitalize as Indiana and Minnesota surged ahead in the team scores, leaving Nebraska in third-place in the men's standings.
The Huskers will now try to qualify more athletes for the NCAA Indoor Championships when they travel to the Iowa State Last Chance in Ames, Iowa at the end of next week. Check Huskers.com later in the week for more information.