NU Track and Field Headed to Nationals
Meet: NCAA Outdoor Championships (meet schedule – pg. 4-5)
Where: Des Moines, Iowa (Drake Stadium)
When: Wednesday, June 8 – Saturday, June 11
Time: Noon/Noon/3 p.m./11 a.m.
Live Results: www.flashresults.com
Free Web Stream: www.ncaa.com
TV: Friday: 6:30-8:30 p.m. (CBS Sports Network)
Saturday: Noon-2 p.m. (CBS)
Lincoln – The Nebraska track and field team will make a short trip to Des Moines, Iowa, for the NCAA Outdoor Championships, which starts on Wednesday, June 8. The four-day meet will be held on the blue oval at Drake Stadium and will start at Noon (CT) on both Wednesday and Thursday, 3 p.m. on Friday and 11 a.m. on Saturday. Both ncaa.com and godrakebulldogs.com will provide a live stream of the meet, while CBS Sports Network will have live coverage from 6:30-8:30 p.m. on Friday and CBS will show the meet live from Noon-2 p.m. on Saturday.
Head Coach Gary Pepin's squad will be well represented at the meet with 18 athletes making the trip. Freshman Mara Griva will compete in both the long and triple jumps, while senior Adam Dailey and freshman Miles Ukaoma will run the 400-meter hurdles and are members of the Huskers' 4×400-meter relay.
Bjorn Barrefors will open the meet for NU when the two-day men's decathlon starts on Wednesday at Noon. The Huskers will also competed in four field events on Wednesday as well as the 400-meter hurdle semifinals. The Huskers are set to compete every day of the four-day meet and will be looking to make the men's 4×400-meter relay finals, which conclude the meet at 1:50 p.m. on Saturday.
Senior Chantae McMillan enters the NCAA Championships with the nation's top score of 5,951 points in the heptathlon this year. McMillan posted the score at the Big 12 Championships and it not only broke a NU record that had stood since 1992, but it also earned McMillan her second straight Big 12 title in the event and the program's seventh straight event title.
McMillan now looks to win the Huskers' first-ever national title in the heptathlon. It would be the Huskers' second women's title in the combined events, as Ashley Selig won the 2005 indoor pentathlon crown.
McMillan is one of four athletes at the national meet that have scored over 5,800 points this year and is one of two to top the 5,900-point barrier. West Virginia junior Chelsea Carrier enters the meet as the No. 2 national seed with 5,927 points.
Freshman Mara Griva enters the NCAA Championships with the top collegiate jump this season at 21-11 3/4, here winning jump from the Big 12 Championships.
The jump was wind-aided due to a 3.6 m/s wind and ranks as the third-longest wind-aided jump in the world this season.
Griva, a native of Ventspils, Latvia, will be looking win just the second outdoor long jump national title for the Husker women in program history. Angee Henry holds the lone championships with her win in 1996.
Griva will also compete in the triple jump, which she hold the third-best jump this season at 45-3 3/4. Dating back to 1989, the Husker women have had three athletes win five outdoor triple jump national titles.
Griva swept the Big 12 horizontal jump titles both indoors and outdoors this year, becoming the third jumper in conference history to do so. The other two jumpers are also from NU, including Dalhia Ingram in 2000 and Ineta Radevica in 2004.
Going for Two
At the NCAA Championships discus thrower Tyler Hitchler will be looking to achieve a feat that hasn't been done in over 15 years at Nebraska. An All-American last season, Hitchler will try to become the first Husker on the men's side to earn consecutive All-America honors in the discus for the first time since Andy Meyer earned three straight honors from 1992-94.
Hitchler will be joined in the discus competition at 6 p.m. on Wednesday by freshman teammate Chad Wright.
One Final Attempt
Thursday, June 9 at 5:35 p.m. will mark the final time senior Nicholas Gordon will have to capture a second national title. The 2009 indoor national champion in the long jump, Gordon is still in search of an outdoor crown.
A native of Kingston, Jamaica, Gordon enters the meet with the sixth-best collegiate jump this season at 26-8 1/2 from the Big 12 Outdoor Championships.
Arturs Abolins is the only men's jumper in NU history to win a long jump national title both indoors and outdoors with his sweep of the 2006 titles.
Ashley Miller captured her first Big 12 title with a personal-best time of 4:18.70 in the 1,500 meters. Miller is the second Husker to win the event in the Big 12 era, joining 2005 Big 12 and national champion Anne Shadle. Miller will look to join Shadle once more at the NCAA Championships as Shadle is also the last Husker on the men's or women's side to earn All-America honors in the 1,500 meters.
Vaulting to New Heights
After earning the first All-America honor of her career last season at the outdoor championships with a sixth-place finish, senior Natalie Willer will be looking to end her collegiate career with another trophy.
Willer enters the meet with the seventh-best collegiate vault this season at 14-2 1/2. No other women's vaulter in NU history has ever earned two straight All-America honors outdoors or won a national title.
Nebraska's Big 12 women's title during the 2011 indoor season added to the historic 31-year resume of Head Coach Gary Pepin, who now holds 67 conference titles dating back to his first Big Eight win at the 1981 indoor meet. As a member of the Big 12 Conference, Pepin's program captured a league-best 23 track and field titles, which also makes him the second-winningest coach in Big 12 history across all sports. Pepin trails Colorado's Mark Wetmore, who has 24 conference titles as the head coach of the Buffs' men's and women's cross country and track and field programs.
Leaving on Top
Following a second-place finish from the NU women and fourth-place finish from the men's team, the Huskers will leave the Big 12 Conference as the league's winningest program.
The Huskers won 51 Big Eight titles during the conference's history from 1974-1996 and Nebraska continued to dominate the conference after the league changed to the Big 12 in 1997. NU won a league-high 23 team titles, including the program's historic 100th conference team title in 2007.
The Huskers added their 101st and 102nd titles during the 2009 and 2010 outdoor seasons when the men's squad became the first men's team in Big 12 history to win back-to-back team titles at the outdoor conference meet.
Indoors, the NU men won a conference-best nine conference titles, including six straight from 2000 to 2005, while Texas won four and Oklahoma had one championship. The men also hold the lead outdoors with six team titles, while the Longhorns are next in line with four titles.
Including their win during the 2011 indoor season, the NU women won a conference-best six indoor crowns and it was their first team win since 2005 when they won a second straight title.
Head Coach Gary Pepin was also unmatched in the Big 12 as his 23 team titles more than doubled any other coach in the conference. Texas' Bev Kearney is in a distance second with her 11 trophies as the Longhorn women's head coach.