Eugene, Ore. - The Nebraska track and field team opened the 2014 NCAA Outdoor Championships on Wednesday at Hayward Field on the campus of the University of Oregon. The Husker women led the way on the day with a pair of podium finishes as Maggie Malone tallied a fourth-place finish in the women’s javelin and Jazmin McCoy came in sixth in the women’s long jump.
Malone earned the second All-America honors of her career with a throw of 181-3 (55.24) that came in as her second-best performance on the season. She jumped out of the gate early with a throw of 177-7 (54.12) on her first attempt and 173-6 (52.88) on her fourth attempt, before her fifth attempt of 181-3 sealed the fourth-place finish and improvement over her 10th-place standing in 2013.
“It’s amazing,” Malone said. “I came in and I wanted to give it everything I had today and give the glory to God. When I saw (fellow Big Ten thrower) Laura Loht had a big throw it gave me 100 percent motivation to just go out there and bust one. It was the best series I had all year, I can’t complain. It was the second-best throw I had all year and huge improvement from last year.”
Jazmin McCoy had a huge day in the women’s long jump as she finished sixth with a leap of 20-8 ½ (6.31). McCoy entered the competition seeded 24th, but left as a first-team All-American and closed her freshman campaign in outstanding fashion. McCoy’s personal-best wind-aided leap of 20-8 ½ (6.31) came on her third jump of the competition. She held on through the final three rounds to secure her podium finish.
“It’s way more than I expected,” McCoy said. “I just had to get one good jump in. It’s a personal best for me and I know I have so much more ahead of me.”
Veronica Grizzle started the championships for the Huskers with an 11th-place finish in the women’s hammer throw. Grizzle improved on every attempt of the competition, finishing with a toss of 203-10 (62.13) on her third attempt. Chad Wright competed in the first of his two events this week. He finished 13th in the shot put, posting a season-best throw of 62-10 (19.15).
In the men’s 400-meter hurdles, Miles Ukaoma earned a spot in the finals with a time of 49.70, the second-best time on the day. Mate Koroknai was the first to miss the cut, finishing ninth with a time of 50.75. Tibor Koroknai finished 15th with a time of 51.15, while Jodi-Rae Blackwood posted a time of 51.64 for 18th.
The men’s 4x100-meter relay of John Welk, Dexter McKenzie, Jodi-Rae Blackwood and Tim Thompson finished third in the first heat with a time of 39.52. The time would put them at 11th overall, but would not qualify for the finals.
Cody Rush finished sixth in the second heat of the men’s 400 meters, posting a time of 46.30. He would go on to finish 13th overall in the event and would not qualify for the finals. Also in the women’s long jump, Mollie Gribbin finished 17th with a leap of 20-1 ½ (6.13) and Tierra Williams came in 21st with a jump of 19-9 (6.02).
Friday’s Finals Finishes
Maggie Malone- Javelin- 4th (181-3)
Jazmin McCoy- Long Jump- 6th (20-8 ½)
Mollie Gribbin- Long Jump- 17th (20-1 ½)
Tierra Williams- Long Jump- 21st (19-9)
Veronica Grizzle- Hammer Throw- 11th (203-10)
Chad Wright- Shot Put- 13th (62-10)
Advancing to the Finals
Miles Ukaoma-400h (49.70)