Nebraska's Kusche breaks school record in mile

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LINCOLN, Neb. George Kusche broke the Nebraska school record in the mile, highlighting a record-setting day in front of a crowd of 2,512 at the Bob Devaney Sports Center Indoor Track on Saturday.

Kusche became the first Husker in school history to run a sub-4:00 mile on a standard 200-meter track with his winning personal-best time of 3:59.61. The freshman from Malelane, South Africa edged Missouri's Kieran Wood, who also accomplished the feat with a time of 3:59.64.

"I'm very happy I did my job, and I'm very grateful to all the people that cheered me on," Kusche said. "It's a wonderful feeling. (The crowd) really uplifts you. When you want to give up, when it gets tough on the last lap and your body doesn't want to run anymore, people cheering really gives you that extra motivation and it gives you purpose. It gives you a reason to run."

Angela Mercurio continued her dominant senior season with another triple jump win and personal-best mark. Her leap of 43-4 1/2 (13.22m) earned her the Husker Invite title, her fourth win in four meets this season, and tied her for sixth in NU indoor history. She also moved to No. 6 in the nation with her Big Ten-leading mark.

Garrison Hughes won the men's pole vault with a mark of 17-5 1/2 (5.32m), while Tyler Loontjer cleared the same height and was the runner-up. They both moved into a tie for No. 10 on the NU all-time top-10 list.

Jonathan Miller was the first Husker to win an event on the day, capturing the triple jump crown with a mark of 48-1 3/4 (14.67m). Bailey Timmons was the champion in the 3,000 meters with a personal-best time of 8:19.17. The men's 4x400-meter relay was the sixth and final winner for the Huskers on the day, posting a season-best time of 3:09.69.

Jared Seay was the runner-up in the heptathlon with 5,687 points, the third-best total in Nebraska school history. Seay set personal bests in five of the seven events on the weekend. Cale Wagner was third with 5,565 points, tied for fifth in NU history. Zach Podraza finished fifth with a personal-best 5,201 points. Seay and Wagner now rank in the top 10 nationally in the heptathlon. Seay started the day with a PR in the 60-meter hurdles, running 8.12 to win the event. He followed with a PR in the pole vault, 15-1 3/4 (4.62m). Cale Wagner also posted a big PR in the pole vault with a clearance of 15-5 3/4 (4.72m) to take third in that event.

Burger Lambrechts broke his personal best three times in the shot put, finishing at 62-1 1/4 (18.93m), the No. 6 throw in Nebraska indoor history. He was the runner-up in the event. Grady Leonard finished fourth at 60-3 (18.36m).

Mayson Conner set a new high jump PR of 7-3 1/4 (2.22m) to finish third in the event, and his jump put him at No. 9 in the nation. Michael Hoffer and Miles Griffith both cleared 6-10 3/4 (2.10m) to finish fifth and sixth, respectively.

Lakayla Harris earned runner-up honors in the 200 meters with a personal-best time of 23.68 that put her at No. 4 in school history and No. 2 in the Big Ten this season. Freshmen Deja Ingram (24.53) and Whitney Bridges (24.54) both ran personal bests to finish fourth and fifth. Harris also ran a season-best time of 7.43 in the 60 meters to finish as the runner-up in that event. Ingram took third with a PR 7.50 and Bridges finished sixth with a personal-best 7.61.

Isaiah Hutchinson finished fourth in the men's 200 meters with a time of 21.18, which moved him to No. 7 all-time on the NU indoor chart.

Luke Siedhoff took third place in the men's 60-meter hurdles with a personal-best time of 7.84. Vincent Ohlman was fourth with a time of 7.97, and Makiyah Smallwood ran a PR 8.08 to place sixth. Jasmine Barge finished third in the women's 60-meter hurdles with a time of 8.43.

Judi Jones ran a 3,000 meters personal best of 9:41.50, which earned her runner-up honors. Erika Freyhof also ran a PR of 9:44.06 to take the bronze medal.

The Huskers went 2-3-4 in the women's 600 meters, as Chelsey Jones (1:32.57), Michaela Peskova (1:32.92) and Mia Morck (1:33.41) performed well for the Big Red. The women's 4x400-meter relay placed second with a time of 3:43.78.

Jessi Smith ran an 800-meters PR of 2:12.08 to finish third, while Ty Moss was third in the men's race with a solid time of 1:51.57. Elsa Forsberg ran a mile time of 4:54.06 to finish fifth. Competing unattached, Nebraska football wide receiver Jaron Woodyard finished fifth in the 60m with a time of 6.90.

Candice Dominguez took third place in the women's high jump with a jump of 5-7 (1.70m). Former Husker Marusa Cernjul was the winner at 6-2 3/4 (1.90m).

The top overall performance of the day came from Indian Hills Community College's Kenny Bednarek, who won the 200 meters with a time of 20.30. It not only broke the Devaney Center record, but it was the fastest indoor 200 meters time run anywhere in the world in 2019. Bednarek was named the most valuable male athlete. Iowa thrower Laulauga Tausaga was the most valuable female athlete. She broke the Devaney Center weight throw record with a toss of 76-3 3/4 (23.26m).

Nebraska will hit the road next weekend for the Tyson Invitational and the Iowa State Classic.