Huskers Reach Two NCAA Auto Marks at Frank Sevigne

By  | 

The 34th Annual Frank Sevigne Husker Invitational came to a close on Saturday at the Devaney Center Indoor Track in front of 2,079 fans. Over two days, 3,357 fans witnessed two meet records fall, 43 NCAA provisional-qualifying marks and nine NCAA automatic-qualifying marks.

On Friday night, Rice’s Jason Colwick set the meet record in the men’s pole vault with a leap of 18-4 1/2, bettering Russ Buller’s (LSU-2000) mark of 18-2 1/2. Saturday afternoon, 2008 Olympian Ryan Brathwaite (Barbados) of Barton County ran a time of 7.65 in the 60-meter hurdles, taking down Dexter Faulk’s record of 7.66, set at last season’s Frank Sevigne.

For the Huskers, they got out to a great start Saturday morning by winning the men’s heptathlon and women’s pentathlon, posting three NCAA provisional-qualifying scores and one NCAA automatic-qualifying score along the way.

In the women’s pentathlon, junior Megan Wheatley and sophomore Chantae McMillan battled back and forth for the meet title, with Wheatley edging her fellow team co-captain, 4,061 to 3,996 points. Wheatley was in second-place through the first two events, with a time of 8.84 in the 60-meter hurdles and a personal best of 5-5 3/4 in the high jump. The Perth, Australia, native then propelled to the top of the standings after the women’s shot put with a personal-best toss of 43-1 1/2, improving on her previous best of 41-8 3/4 by over a foot. McMillan, who had started the day with personal bests in the 60-meter hurdles (8.83) and high jump (5-7), led after two events before dropping to second, following a personal-best shot put toss of 40-5 1/2.

The two then swapped spots following the long jump with Wheatley’s jump of 18-7 3/4, short of McMillan’s leap of 19-3 1/2. Wheatley put the event away with an 800-meter time of 2:21.10, finishing the pentathlon with an NCAA automatic-qualifying score, topping the auto mark of 4,500 points by just 11. McMillan finished with a personal-best and NCAA provisional-qualifying score, topping her previous best of 3,827 by 169 points. The Husker pair now ranks 1-2 in the Big 12 Conference, while in Division I, Wheatley is ranked No. 5 and McMillan is ranked No. 8.

In the men’s heptathlon, senior co-captains Skyler Reising and Pat Burke each posted NCAA provisional-qualifying scores. With a lead following day one on Friday, Reising returned on Saturday to post a personal-best score of 5,485 to win the meet, ranking him No. 9 in Division I. Burke finished third with 5,392 points, ranking him No. 13 in Division I. The duo of Reising and Burke now rank No. 3 and 4 in the Big 12 Conference.

In the women’s high jump, two-time indoor All-American Epley Bullock continued her path to a third All-America honor by improving her NCAA automatic-qualifying mark with a personal-best leap of 6-1 1/4. After clearing 6-0 3/4 at last weekend’s adidas Classic, Bullock attempted 6-1 1/4, but was unable to clear. However, on Saturday Bullock would not be denied as she dug deep with only one attempt remaining to clear the 6-1 1/4 bar. Bullock is now tied for the No. 3 spot on the 2009 Division I list, tied for third on the Nebraska all-time indoor performance list and is tied for 12th on the all-time indoor Big 12 performance list.

On the men’s side, sophomore Paul Hamilton cleared a personal-best height of 7-2 1/2 in a runner-up performance to former Husker indoor national champion and current Nike athlete Dusty Jonas. Hamilton’s jump was an improvement on his previous NCAA provisional-qualifying standard, moving him from No. 10 in Division I into a tie for No. 2. He is also tied for the No. 1 spot in the Big 12 with Texas’ Raymond Harris.

In other field event action, Nicholas Gordon and Natalie Willer each posted event wins. Gordon won the men’s triple jump with a personal-best leap of 50-8 3/4. The jump was an improvement on Gordon’s NCAA provisional-qualifying mark, moving him from No. 33 to No. 30 in Division I. For the third straight meet Willer won the women’s pole vault with an NCAA automatic-qualifying mark. The Elkhorn, Neb., native cleared 13-9 1/4 to win the event, but the mark did not top her season best and school record of 14-0, set at the Conference Challenge.

After already posting wins in the 1,000 and 3,000 meters in 2009, senior Natalja Callahan made her mark in the invitational division of the women’s one mile, running a personal best 4:47.40. The time was an NCAA provisional-qualifying time, tying Callahan for 24th in Division I and ranking her fifth in the Big 12.

In the middle distance, the Huskers won the men’s 600-yard run, while sweeping the 1,000 meters with 1-2 finishes in each race. The Big Red went 1-2-3 in the 600 yards, led by Blaise Rewaka with a time of 1:11.17, followed by Adam Dailey (1:11.19) and Nick Makukutu (1:11.57). In the men’s 1,000 meters, Brad Doering (2:28.92) edged teammate Matt Conahan (2:29.10), while in the women’s race, freshman Erica Hamik (2:53.88) downed fellow freshman Jessica Furlan (2:54.04).

The Big Red ended the meet with a win in the women’s distance-medley relay and the men’s 4x400-meter relay. The women’s team of Jessica Furlan, Nandi Meyer, Erica Hamik and Ashley Miller cruised to a time of 12:01.94, nearly 11 seconds faster than the second-place team from Emporia State that ran 12:11.60. It was the first time the women had run the event all season, ranking them fourth in the Big 12. The men’s team of Adam Dailey, Kirkland Thornton, Dax Danns and Lukas Hulett won the 4x400 with a time of 3:13.74, just getting by Michigan’s four-some that posted a time of 3:14.45.

The Huskers will now prepare to hit the road for the first time all season as they will split up for the Iowa State Classic in Ames, Iowa, and the Tyson Invitational in Fayetteville, Ark. Both meets begin on Friday, Feb. 13, and continue on Saturday, Feb. 14.

Courtesy: NU Media Relations