The Nebraska track and field team competed in the Big Ten Indoor Championship in Geneva, Ohio, on Feb 28 and 29 and finished the meet with 11 total medals. The men’s team finished fourth with 76 points, and the women’s team finished 10th with 35.5 points. The team also had three Big Ten Champions: junior Ieva Turke in the triple jump, sophomore Alencar Pereira in the weight throw and freshman Brent Wetovick in the 600-meter run.
On the first day, senior Kevin Cahoy started things off, finishing third in the pole vault with a personal-best clearance of 17 feet, 3 1/2 inches. Following Cahoy, Pereira made school history during the men's weight throw. Pereira not only snatched the Big Ten indoor title but also set a new school record with a throw of 72 feet, 6 1/4 inches.
"I can't believe it because I was practicing pretty hard and threw my back out three weeks ago," Pereira said to huskers.com. " … It was crazy that I broke the school record."
In the women's long jump, the Huskers scored 17 points. Turke led the effort, finishing second with a season-best jump of 19 feet, 11 inches. Freshman Darby Thomas was right behind Turke, finishing third with a personal-best jump of 19 feet,9 inches. Sophomore Zionn Pearson finished sixth in the event with a season-best jump of 19 feet, 3 1/4 inches.
Senior Judi Jones added another point to the team score in the 3,000-meter run, finishing eighth with a time of 9:35.31. Sophomore George Kusche rounded out the day finishing third in the 3,000-meter with a time of 8:14.02. Kusche also placed third in the mile with a time of 4:09.68.
On the second day, sophomore Mayson Conner and junior Madison Yerigan both finished fourth in the high jump. Conner cleared 7 feet, 1 3/4 inches, while Yerigan cleared 5 feet, 9 1/4 inches, which is also her personal best.
Following the long jump, junior Zach Podraza had his big highlight of the meet, winning the heptathlon pole vault with a personal-best clearance of 15 feet, 9 inches. This would help Podraza finish sixth in the heptathlon with 5,379 points. The second Big Ten title then came in the triple jump. Turke won the first conference title of her career with a jump of 42 feet, 11 inches.
"It feels awesome because my first year I was fourth, last year I was third and now I am finally first," Turke said to huskers.com. "Yesterday, I had the long jump competition and am a little sore today but kept thinking, ‘I can't give up and have to get gold.’”
Freshman Terrol Wilson followed in the men’s triple jump, finishing third with a personal-best jump of 50 feet, 1 1/4 inches. Junior Burger Lambrechts Jr. finished second in the shot put with a throw of 63 feet, 9 inches. Sophomore Matthew Brown finished seventh in the men's 60-meter dash with a time of 6.79 seconds.
Senior Luke Siedhoff finished with a silver medal in the 60-meter hurdles with a time of 7.79 seconds, while freshman Darius Luff placed sixth in the event with a time of 7.87 seconds. Freshman Brent Wetovick then won the team’s final Big Ten title in the 600-meter run with a personal-best time of 1:16.81.
"It is a blessing to even get here as a freshman," Wetovick said to huskers.com. "Everybody here is top-notch athletes, and I am blessed to be able to travel so far and be able to compete at my best. This feels great, and it is for my hometown and my home state, my family and my friends back home and my track family here. That is who it is for."
Junior Erika Freyhof then finished sixth in the 5,000-meter run with a time of 16:24.10. The men's 4x400-meter relay team of sophomore Tony Nou, sophomore Bryce Barrett, sophomore Cody Mroczek and senior Isaiah Hutchinson concluded the meet and finished sixth with a season-best time of 3:10.74.
The indoor track and field season will conclude on March 13 and 14 at the NCAA Indoor Championships in Albuquerque, New Mexico.