NU T&F begins season Friday

Huskers Open 2012 Season on Friday

 

Meet: Holiday Inn Invitational

 

Where: Lincoln, Neb. (Devaney Center Indoor Track)

 

When: Friday, Jan. 13 (4 p.m.) – Saturday, Jan. 14 (noon)

 

Live Results: Huskers.com

 

The Nebraska track and field team is set to open the 2012 season on Friday, Jan. 13 when it hosts the Holiday Inn Invitational at the Devaney Center Indoor Track. The two-day meet will then continue on Saturday when the action starts against at noon.

 

The Huskers have been a nationally prominent program and will look to add to their 103 conference team titles in their first year in the Big Ten Conference.

 

The Husker men's squad returns a talented group that enters the year ranked No. 5 in the country. Two-time heptathlon All-American and 2011 Big 12 Champion Bjorn Barrefors leads the way for the Huskers and is joined by fellow senior All-American Luke Pinkelman, who won a Big 12 title in the shot put last season. The men also return senior All-American pole vaulter Nate Polacek and senior All-American long jumper Chris Phipps.

 

The No. 25 women's team is led by reigning Big 12 long jump and triple jump champion Mara Griva as she looks to continue the Huskers' dominance in the jumps. The Huskers will also be guided by All-Big 12 performers Jade Siegel and Ashley Miller, as well as a slew of talented young athletes.

 

Winning Ways

The all-time winningest track and field coach in the history of the Big 12 and the former Big Eight Conference, Nebraska Head Coach Gary Pepin enters his 32nd season at NU during the 2012 track and field season. The longest tenured active coach in Cornhusker athletics, 2012 will be Pepin's 29th season as head coach of both the Husker men's and women's track teams. Pepin captured 23 Big 12 titles as the Huskers' leader.

 

In his first 31 seasons at Nebraska, Pepin has coached athletes to 56 NCAA titles, 476 All-America honors and 512 conference titles.

 

103 and Counting

After winning 51 Big Eight titles during the conference's history from 1974-1996, the Huskers continued to dominate since moving to the Big 12 Conference for the 1997 season. NU won a league-high 23 team titles during the Big 12's 14-year history, including the program's historic 100th conference team title in 2007 at the Big 12 Indoor Championships.

 

The Huskers added their 101st and 102nd titles during the 2009 and 2010 outdoor seasons when they became the first men's team in Big 12 history to win back-to-back team titles at the outdoor conference meet.

 

Nebraska also added to its lead of 103 in 2011 as the Husker women took the 2011 Big 12 Indoor Championship. The Huskers won the championship over four-time defending champion Texas A&M.

 

All-America Pipeline

Nebraska has been a staple at the NCAA Indoor Championships as the men's team alone has produced 116 All-America awards.  The men's squad has been on quite a roll as they have had at least one athlete earn All-American honors at the past 21 national meets. Since the indoor championships began in 1965, the Huskers have failed to leave with at least one All-America award on just five occasions, including 1975, 1982, 1983, 1984 and 1990.

 

The women's team has been just as good indoors since the national meet started in 1980. Along with three straight national titles from 1982 to 1984, the Huskers have two or more All-Americans at every meet except for 2002 when they failed to earn a honor.

 

Home-Grown Talent

Fans of track and field in the state of Nebraska will see a lot of familiar faces this season as 61 of the Huskers' 111 athletes are Nebraska natives. Overall, the team is represented by 17 states and 10 countries.

 

Jumps-U

The Husker women have been a top program when it comes to the high, long and triple jumps. The Huskers have one at least one title in one of the events at nine of the previous 15 indoor conference championships and have won the triple jump crown seven times, including five straight wins from 2000 to 2004. The women pulled off the clean sweep in 2011 when Mara Griva notched a pair of wins in the long and triple jumps.

 

Lopes-Schliep Tops World List

Former Husker national champion and 2008 Olympic bronze medalist Priscilla Lopes-Schliep was picked as the No. 1 women's 100-meter hurdler in the world on the recently released Track and Field News World Rankings for the 2010 season. Lopes-Schliep was one of four former Huskers listed on the top-10 world list, as three-time triple jump national champion Ineta Radevica (Latvia) was fifth in the long jump, two-time outdoor national champion Becky Breisch (US) was seventh in the discus while eight-time All-American and 2008 indoor high jump national champion Dusty Jonas (US) was ninth in the high jump.

 

Lopes-Schliep came off arguably her best season as a professional, as recorded the top time in the world in 2010 at 12.52 during her victory in London, beating out LoLo Jones' 12.55 from earlier in the season in New York. Lopes-Schliep ended the year with eight victories, including win in her final four races, and placed no lower than fourth all season at 14 meets. Lopes-Schliep also took the top spot in the Diamond League standing over Jones, which earned Lopes-Schliep the inaugural Diamond Race Trophy, a four-carat diamond worth $80,000

 

Record Breakers

The Nebraska track and field team had a stellar Red vs. White Intrasquad meet in December as both teams saw eight athletes break five meet records over the two nights of competition.

 

Senior All-American Luke Pinkelman broke the 2002 shot put record of 62-9 1/4 previously held by Carl Myerscough. Pinkelman notched a throw of 64-8 on Friday night to earn the top spot in the Nebraska intrasquad record books.

 

Seniors Brooke and Blaire Dinsdale also performed at a record-breaking pace in the 1,000 meters. Brooke Dinsdale posted a time of 2:53.85, while Blaire Dinsdale recorded a mark of 2:57.36. Both times broke the previous record of 2:58.41 held by Danute Ceika in 2004.

 

The record-breaking pace was kicked off on Thursday night as five athletes combined to break three meet records.

 

Freshman Ricco Hall and sophomore Miles Ukaoma started the action by snapping the 2006, 400-meter dash record of 47.83 previously held by Tim Grier. Hall finished with a record-breaking time of 47.25, while Ukaoma notched his own record-setting performance of 47.35.

 

Sophomores Mara Weekes and Mila Andric were also among the few to break records on Thursday night, setting new marks in the 400-meter dash. Weekes took the top spot with a time of 55.64, while Andric recorded a time of 56.23. Weekes previously held the record after setting a time of 56.37 at the 2010 intrasquad.

 

The final record of the meet was set in the women's weight throw by senior Victoria Zimmerman as she recorded a mark of 62-5 3/4 to clip the previous record of 60-9 1/4 set my Amanda Morley in 2002.

 

The meet also offered the opportunity for young Husker fans to get out onto the same track that the Huskers run on, as they were able to run in both the Little Husker 100-meter and 60-meter dashes.