LINCOLN — With so many moving pieces, the triple jump is an event where lots of things can go wrong, and Nebraska’s Ellie Ewere had found most of them in her career.
But the smile on her face after uncorking a career-best leap Saturday was evidence she has started to figure things out. The junior from Hillsborough, N.J., jumped 41 feet, 10¾ inches to win the event at the Mark Colligan Memorial at the Devaney Center, a jump that ranks second in the Big Ten this season.
“Ellie has really worked hard this year and has had a lot better attitude and is starting to understand the event some,” said NU coach Gary Pepin, who instructs the Husker jumpers. “We’ve worked hard mainly on just basics. She’s tried to make a better attempt at learning the event and really doing things right. As a result, she’s doing things well, and I think she can jump a lot better than what she’s even doing now.”
Ewere, whose previous career best of 41-½ came last weekend, said she came into this season with a better attitude toward film study of practice sessions and has become more disciplined in holding out each of the phases of her leap.
“Now, I understand triple jump a lot better than I have in the past,” Ewere said. “I understand what each phase means and why I need to be on time with my jump. I think understanding what you’re doing helps you get better.”
Ewere’s winning jump was one of several career-best marks for the Husker women Saturday. Sophomore Paula Andrie cleared 13 feet, 3¾ inches in the pole vault, breaking her old mark of 12-11½ when she finished fifth at last year’s Big Ten indoor championships. Andrie’s vault Saturday was the second-best in the Big Ten this season and good for No. 9 on the Huskers’ all-time indoor charts.
Freshman Jazmin McCoy took home the title in the long jump with a leap of 19-7, and for the second week in a row, Carlie Pinkelman set a personal record in the women’s shot put. The junior from Cozad, Neb., won the event with a toss of 52-1¼, the third-best throw in the Big Ten this season.
All-Big Ten sprinter Mara Weekes won a pair of individual titles in the 60 meters (7.55 seconds) and 200 (24.44), while also running on NU’s winning 4x400 relay (3:44.83).
As for the Husker men, Pepin said he was most pleased with performances that showed NU’s emerging depth in several events.
“We had an awful lot of events in which we showed not only some quality, but we showed balance and some depth,” he said. “This is one of the better dual meet teams we’ve ever had.”
Cody Rush paced a 1-2-3 finish for the Huskers in the 400 with a career-best time of 47.12 — the second-fastest mark in the Big Ten this year and good for sixth on Nebraska’s all-time list.
The sophomore from Grand Island Northwest credited an offseason weight regimen for boosting his lower-body strength and allowing him to smash his old best time of 48.25.
“I just got that big, strong base from this summer,” Rush said. “I didn’t do a whole lot except lift. Through the fall, we just worked on the speed and the strength. My teammates were here to push me hard every day.”
Husker men finished 1-2 in the pole vault with Christian Sanderfer and Craig Driver each notching a mark of 16-10¾. All-American Chad Wright won the shot put in his season debut with a throw of 62-¼, followed by teammate Will Lohman at 59-¼. The Huskers also swept the top three spots in the triple jump, won by Devandrew Johnson at 50-6¾.
With Big Ten champion Patrick Raedler sitting out the long jump Saturday, senior Seth Wiedel kept NU from missing a beat. Wiedel, from Hebron, Neb., won the men’s long jump by leaping 24-5¾, the 12th-best mark in the country this season.
Senior Travis Englund also easily surpassed his career best in the high jump with a winning leap of 6-11¾, bettering his previous top mark by almost four inches.