West Lafayette, Ind. – The Nebraska track and field team closed competition at the 2014 Big Ten Outdoor Championships on Sunday at Rankin Track and Field. The Huskers added three conference titles on the day as Miles Ukaoma won the men’s 400-meter hurdles, Annie Jackson took home the women’s discus crown and the men’s 4x400-meter relay of Levi Gipson, Drew Wiseman, Jake Bender and Cody Rush finish first.
In the team races, the Husker women came in second with 102.5 points, while Penn State took the team title on the women’s side with a dominating 136 points. The Husker men finished third with 106 points, while Illinois was second with 109 points and Wisconsin finished first with 121 points.
Ukaoma earned the second Big Ten 400-meter hurdles title of his career, finishing first among a stacked field of competitors. Ukaoma posted a season-best and facility record-breaking time of 49.70 and continues to rank third in the nation in the event. He led a contingent of Huskers as Tibor Koroknai was third with a time of 51.11, Mate Koroknai finished fourth with a time of 51.29 and Jodi-Rae Blackwood took eighth with a time of 52.24. On the women’s side, Ellie Grooters finished fifth overall with a time of 59.07.
“It’s kind of redemption from last year,” Ukaoma said. “(I) finished smooth through the hurdles, good meet and season time, so no complaints.”
Annie Jackson punctuated an impressive weekend with her first conference title, finishing first in the women’s discus. Jackson launched a personal-best throw of 172-1 (52.46) on her second attempt of the competition and led the field the rest of the way, securing her win in the event and adding to her third-place finish in the shot put on Saturday. Her throw in the discus puts her at ninth all-time at Nebraska.
“I don’t think it has really sunk in yet but it is wonderful,” Jackson said. “At Nebraska our goal is to win the conference championship, so whatever you can do for your team, however many points you can get it means a lot. There are some times athletes come up to me and say, ‘I saw you perform and helped me do better,’ you couldn’t ask for a better compliment. To be a captain, come out on top. (It) can’t get much better than that.”
For the second consecutive year, the Husker men capped the championships with the 4x400-meter relay title. The team of Levi Gipson, Drew Wiseman, Jake Bender and Cody Rush tallied a time of 3:05.76 to earn a spot on top of the podium, while also breaking the facility record.
Ellie Ewere captured a runner-up finish in the women’s triple jump with a leap of 42-9 ¾ (13.05) on her second attempt of the competition. Mollie Gribbin finished fifth overall with a personal-best jump of 41-8 ¾ (12.72). On the men’s side, Devandrew Johnson finished eighth with a leap of 49-3 (15.01), while Travis Englund was ninth with a mark of 49-0 ¾ (14.95).
Marusa Cernjul tallied her third top-three finish in the high jump at a Big Ten Outdoor Championships, finishing in a tie for third while clearing 5-7 ¼ (1.71). In the women’s pole vault, Paula Andrie notched a fourth-place finish with a vault of 13-4 ½ (4.08). Maggie Maher tallied a seventh-place finish with a season-best vault of 13-0 ¾ (3.98).
Will Lohman led NU in the men’s shot put with a fifth-place standing. He posted a throw of 61-5 (18.72), while Chad Wright finished ninth with a throw of 58-4 ¾ (17.80).
Cody Rush earned a spot on the podium in the men’s 400 meters with a personal-best time of 46.18 that vaults him to eighth all-time at Nebraska, while Levi Gipson came in fifth with a time of 46.67. Mara Weekes tallied a fifth-place finish in the women’s 400 meters with a season-best time of 53.76, while Kadecia Baird came in seventh with a time of 54.25. Brena Andrews led the Huskers in the women’s 100 meters with an eighth-place finish and a time of 12.04, while Tim Thompson guided the men with a fourth-place finish and a time of 10.58.
Dexter McKenzie finished fifth in the 200 meters with a time of 21.23, while Ricco Hall was eighth with a time of 21.51. Trevor Vidlak earned the Huskers two points in the men’s 1,500 meters with a seventh-place finish and a time of 3:51.43. In the men’s 110-meter hurdles, Ukaoma finished fifth with a time of 13.98, Sean Pille came in eighth with a time of 14.41 and TIbor Koroknai was ninth with a time of 14.49.
The women’s 4x100-meter relay team of Breunna McCarty, Weekes, Andrews and Baird finished fourth with a time of 45.23. The women’s 4x400-meter relay team of Weekes, Baird, Andrews and Grooters tallied a fourth-place finish with a season-best time of 3:36.35.
The Big Ten Network will air tape-delay coverage of the Big Ten Outdoor Track and Field Championships at 5 p.m. CT on Sunday, May 25.
2014 Big Ten Champions
Annie Jackson- Women’s Discus
Maggie Malone- Women’s Javelin
Miles Ukaoma- 400-meter Hurdles
Chad Wright- Men’s Discus
Levi Gipson, Drew Wiseman, Jake Bender, Cody Rush- 4x400-meter Relay