GENEVA, Ohio — Nebraska track and field coach Gary Pepin made few bones about it Saturday. He and his staff thought the Husker men would win the Big Ten indoor championship. They finished fourth.
“We fell on our faces in some places,” Pepin said. “We were really disappointed.”
It didn’t much matter to Pepin that NU, with 86.66 points, fell just short of champ Wisconsin, which had 90.
A failure to score points in a couple sprints — no Huskers qualified for the finals in the 400 meters while freshman Dapo Akinmoladun had a costly false start in the 60-meter hurdles — left Nebraska no real chance to catch the Badgers by the final event, when the 1,600-meter relay team broke the school and meet record with a time of 3:06.67. Janis Leitis, who ran anchor on the relay, also won the triple jump with a leap of 52-Ĺ.
But Pepin was more than pleased with the Husker women, who led heading into the 1,600-meter relay before finishing second to Illinois. NU scored 112 while the Illini, who won the relay handily, finished with 115 points.
“Really pleased,” Pepin said. “They exceeded my expectations.”
Senior Mara Griva won her third straight indoor conference title in the triple jump with a season-best 42-11Ĺ. Though Jessica Furlan didn’t add another title to go with her 3,000-meter win Friday night, she finished second in the mile and fifth in the 5,000 meters. She accounted for 20 percent of the Huskers’ points.
The NU women had two runners (Shawnice Williams and Ellie Grooters) place in the top eight of the 600 meters, and two more jumpers (Anna Weigandt and Ellie Ewere) finish in the top eight of the triple jump. Mara Weekes finished eighth in the 60 meters and fifth in the 200. Jillanna Scanlan finished second and Marusa Cernjul finished fourth in the high jump.
On the men’s side, James White finished second in the high jump, Dexter McKenzie finished fourth in the 200 meters, Teran Walford finished fifth in the heptathlon, Patrick Raedler finished fifth in the triple jump and four runners (Levi Gipson, Cody Rush, Tommy Brinn and London Hawk) finished in the top eight of the 600 meters.
The Huskers now prepare for the NCAA championships, which start March 8.