ANN ARBOR, Mich. — Nebraska athletics won its first conference title of the Big Ten sports calendar — and it came down to the final race.
The Husker men’s track and field team used a balanced effort to capture the league’s indoor crown Saturday in Ann Arbor, Michigan. NU had just two individual winners in the meet — Mayson Conner in the high jump and Elijah Lucy in the long jump — but accumulated 93 points to narrowly edge second-place Indiana, which finished with 91 points.
The Hoosiers led 90-89 headed into the final event, the 1,600-meter relay. NU runners Givon Washington, Tony Nou, Lucy and Isaiah Hutchinson finished fifth with a time of 3 minutes, 9.12 seconds. Indiana’s runners finished eighth.
“It was really exciting for the fans and for the kids on this team,” coach Gary Pepin said. “I don’t know how exciting it was for the coaches because we were really worried, but I felt like that’s a great way to go in at the end to try and win the meet with the mile relay. I knew we had a good mile relay. It was exciting and really a good team effort.”
It’s NU’s first track title — indoor or outdoor, men’s or women’s — since 2016. It’s the 67th conference title for the Husker men and the fifth since joining the Big Ten.
Several Husker men contributed to the cause, including distance runner George Kusche, who finished third in the 3,000-meter race Friday and fourth in the mile race Saturday.
Three Huskers — Burger Lambrechts, Grady Leonard and Nick Coghill — finished fourth, seventh and eighth in the shot put for points. Jared Seay and Zach Podraza finished second and seventh in the heptathlon. Luke Siedhoff and Vincent Ohlman finished second and fifth in the 60-meter hurdles. Ty Moss finished fifth in the 600 meters, Isaiah Hutchinson finished sixth in the 60 meters, and Spencer Powell and Kevin Cahoy finished fifth and seventh in the pole vault.
All those points added up to fend off the Hoosiers, who had a strong performance in middle distance races and won the pole vault on Friday.
The Husker women finished fifth with 68 points, as senior sprinter Lakayla Harris won the 60-meter race and took third in the 200 meters. Senior triple jumper Angela Mercurio, in her final Big Ten meet, won another league crown while sophomore Ieva Turke finished third. Jasmine Barge finished second in the 60-meter hurdles. NU also got three eighth-place finishes from Candice Dominguez (high jump), Chanel Freeman (60 meters) and Jessi Smith (600 meters).
Ohio State’s women easily won the league crown with 112 points.
Team scoring: Nebraska 93, Indiana 91, Wisconsin 71, Purdue 70, Iowa 70, Ohio State 66, Penn State 63, Michigan 52, Minnesota 36, Rutgers 33, Illinois 28, Michigan State 26.
Nebraska placers: 60 meter dash: 6, Isaiah Hutchinson, 6.82. 600: 5, Ty Moss, 1:18.49. 1 mile: 4, George Kusche, 4:04.20. 3,000: 3, George Kusche, 8:26.82. 60 hurdles: 2, Luke Siedhoff, 7.83; 5, Vincent Ohlman, 7.94. 400 relay: 5, 3:09.12. Distance medley: 5, 9:51.81. High jump: 1, Connor Mayson, 7-3.75; 2, Miles Griffith, 7-1; 6, Michael Hoffer, 6-9.75. Pole vault: 5, Spencer Powell, 17-2.25; 7, Kevin Cahoy, 16-10.25. Long jump: 1, Elijah Lucy, 25-2. Shot put: 4, Burger Lambrechts, 61-5; 7, Grady Leonard, 59-6.25; 8, Nicholas Coghill, 57-9. Heptathlon: 2, Jared Seay, 5,757; 7, Zach Podraza, 5,247.
Team scoring: Ohio State 112, Indiana 83, Iowa 80, Wisconsin 77, Nebraska 68, Michigan State 61, Minnesota 60, Penn State 57.5, Michigan 51.5, Purdue 25, Illinois 13, Maryland 10, Rutgers 4.
Nebraska placers: 60 meter dash: 1, Lakayla Harris, 7.26. 200: 3, Lakayla Harris, 23.54. 600: 8, Jessi Smith, 1:32.99. 60 hurdles: 2, Jasmine Barge, 8.30; 8, Chanel Freeman, 8.56. High jump: 8, Candice Dominguez, 5-6. Pole vault: 8, Adrianna Jacobs, 13-3. Long jump: 2, Shylia Riley, 20-0.25; 3, Zionn Pearson, 19-11.75; 4, Ieva Turke, 19-11.50. Triple jump: 1, Angela Mercurio, 42-7; 3, Ieva Turke, 42-1.25.