With the Big 12 Indoor Championships just one week away in College Station, Texas, the No. 5 men’s and No. 24 women’s Nebraska track and field teams made their final regular-season adjustments on Friday during the Nebraska Tune-Up at the Devaney Center Indoor Track in front of 1,263 fans. The Huskers produced five NCAA provisional-qualifying marks on their way to winning 17 events.
Junior Seth Burney waited until the end of the meet to put up the top performance, clearing a personal-best and NCAA provisional-qualifying height of 17-7 3/4 in the men’s pole vault, becoming the No. 6 performer all-time indoors at Nebraska. After passing at the first four bars, Burney entered at the 16-2 bar. He went on to clear 16-2 and the next bar, 16-8, on his first attempt. Burney then took the bar up to 17-1 3/4, where it took him until his third and final attempt to clear. The Beatrice, Neb., native then went after 17-7 3/4, a height that narrowly escaped him at the Frank Sevigne Husker Invitational. On his final attempt, Burney grazed the bar as he cleared and then had to wait on the mat as the bar bounced, but not fall like it did at the Sevigne meet two weeks prior. After being swarmed by teammates, Burney passed at the next height and called it a day, as he vaulted from No. 9 to No. 7 on the Division I list, while staying No. 2 in the Big 12 Conference behind Jordan Scott of Kansas (18-0 1/2).
“It was such a relief to clear that bar (17-7 3/4) today,” Burney said. “With the way I missed clearing it at the (Frank Sevigne Husker Invitational) Sevigne meet though, it made it that much sweeter today.”
Even with Division I leader Paul Hamilton taking the week off, the Huskers dominated the men’s high jump with two NCAA provisional-qualifying performances by Brandon Sheppard and Sam Haase. Each cleared 7-0 1/4, with Sheppard winning the event on less misses. The mark was a personal best for each, as both had previously cleared 6-10 1/4. The duo is now tied for fourth in the Big 12 Conference with Michael Healey of Kansas State and tied for the No. 24 spot on Division I performance list with 13 other jumpers.
“I told Coach (Gary) Pepin on Monday that I was going to win this meet and set a provisional-qualifying mark for nationals,” Sheppard said. “Even with my injury earlier in the season, I haven’t let it hold me back. I just want to help my team at the conference meet and put myself in a position to get to nationals.”
“I’ve been battling for the seven-foot bar ever since my senior year of high school,” Haase said. “Coach (Gary) Pepin and I decided to move the mark on my curve out a foot this week to help me create more speed toward the bar. That change helped pull everything together and make the difference today.”
Not to be outdone by the men, sophomore Audrey Svane cleared a personal-best and NCAA provisional-qualifying mark of 5-11 1/4 to win the women’s high jump. Svane was clean through the first four bars, 5-5, 5-7, 5-8 3/4 and 5-10, with the final bar breaking her previous best of 5-9 1/4. The Tioga, Texas, native then raised the bar to 5-11 1/4, failing to clear on her first attempt. With the No. 3 spot on the Big 12 performance list on the line, Svane cleared on her second to make a solid bid for the NCAA Indoor Championships by moving her into a tie for the No. 13 spot in Division I.
“Coach (Gary) Pepin and I have been working on my mental toughness,” Svane said. “In the past I would have changed my approach when I saw the bar get as high as it was today. It helped having (teammate) Epley (Bullock) there with me, she’s a real pro at this (the high jump). Clearing a personal best is something incredible, pretty much indescribable.”
In other jumps action, freshman Chris Phipps led the Husker men to a 1-2-3 sweep in the long jump, blowing away his previous best of 21-5 1/2 with a leap of 24-3 3/4. Phipps was directly followed by teammates LeRon Williams (23-6) and Scott Jorgenson (23-1 1/4). Phipps then followed with a victory in the triple jump, notching a personal-best and NCAA provisional-qualifying leap of 51-6 1/2. The jump moves the Lodi, N.J., native from No. 34 in Division I to No. 23.
On the women’s side, freshman Tara Korshoj won the triple jump with a leap of 39-6 1/2. The win marked the second straight victory for the Omaha, Neb., native after she won the collegiate division of the triple jump at last weekend’s Tyson Invitational.
In the weight throw, the Huskers got an impressive performance out of redshirt freshman Matt Giesselmann, who finished fourth with a personal-best toss of 58-0 1/4, topping his previous best of 56-10. The mark moves Giesselmann from No. 9 in the Big 12 to No. 7, cementing four Nebraska throwers in the conference’s top eight. Senior Keith Lloyd (62-0 1/2) leads the way at No. 4, with junior Eric Petersen (58-8) ranked No. 6, Giesselmann ranked No. 7 and redshirt freshman Carter Wasem (57-7) ranked No. 8. Lloyd later won the shot put with a toss of 57-4 1/4.
Freshmen Suzanne Higgins and Blaire Dinsdale produced solid performances for the Husker women in the middle distance events. First, Higgins won the 600-yard run with a time of 1:25.92. Dinsdale then followed with a personal-best time of 2:10.13 in the women’s 800-meter run to finish runner-up, bettering her previous best of 2:12.01 and nearly reaching the NCAA provisional-qualifying standard of 2:09.00. The time moves Dinsdale into the No. 7 spot on the Big 12 performance list.
In the pole vault, sophomore Rachel Birtles led the Husker women to a 1-2-3 sweep with a vault of 12-7 1/2. Cami Jiskra finished runner-up with a personal-best tying vault of 12-3 1/2 and Lindsey Maher came in third with a clearance of 11-11 3/4.
Senior Joslyn Dalton and redshirt freshman Brad Doering each posted personal bests in the 1,000 meters on their way to victory. Dalton coasted across the finish line with a time of 2:54.36, beating out freshman teammate Brooke Dinsdale, who ran a personal-best 2:59.66. Doering then won the men’s race with a time of 2:26.31, just faster than teammates Kyle Custer (2:26.75) and David Adams (2:26.94).
The Husker then swept the 3,000-meter run with victories by Jen Webers and Todd Gulizia. Webers won the women’s race with a personal-best time of 10:01.67, nearly 20 seconds faster than runner-up Sarah Williams of Kansas Wesleyan. Gulizia followed with a win in the men’s race by posting a season-best time of 8:31.88.
In the sprints, the Husker women posted back-to-back wins in the 60-meter hurdles and 60-meter dash. Junior Nikita Eades earned victory with a time of 8.59 in the hurdles, before senior Chi Kalu followed with a personal-best tying time of 7.73 in the dash. On the men’s side, Eric Lund paced the Huskers to a 1-2 finish in the 60-meter hurdles with a time of 8.08, followed by Tyrell Ross’ time of 8.10. Scott Wims then led the Big Red to a 1-2 finish in the 200 meters with a time of 21.38, just faster than teammate Dax Danns’ time of 21.57.
The Huskers return to practice before hitting the road on Thursday, Feb. 26, for the Big 12 Indoor Championships in College Station, Texas, at the Gilliam Indoor Track Stadium on the campus of Texas A&M University. The meet is set to begin on Friday, Feb. 27, at 9 a.m. and continue on Saturday, Feb. 28, at 3 p.m. Check Huskers.com next week for a full schedule and more information. A live video stream of the entire meet, as well as live results will be available at Huskers.com via AggieAthletics.com.
Courtesy: Nebraska Media Relations