Darby Thomas Track and Field Husker Quad

The Nebraska men’s track and field team won the Big Ten Outdoor Championships for the first time since 2016, wrapping up the three-day meet with the title on Sunday. 

Meanwhile, the Husker women finished third despite ranking atop the conference entering the meet. However, it was an improvement on their eighth-place finish at the Big Ten Indoor Championships in February.

Eleven Huskers won individual event titles, six men and five women. Sophomore Axelina Johansson, in the women’s shot put, was the most impressive of all. She threw a personal best 64 feet, 1.25 inches (19.54 meters) and sits at No. 1 nationally on the women’s side. Not only that, it’s also a program record, a Swedish national record, and the second-farthest throw in the world this year and in NCAA Outdoor history. 

Junior Darius Luff ran a personal best of 13.32 seconds to win the 110 meter hurdles, a major improvement on his showing at the conference meet last year when he failed to reach the final. He now holds the No. 3 time in the nation and has a chance at winning a national title in the event next month after finishing third in the 60-meter hurdles at this year’s NCAA Indoor Championships. Teammate Brithton Senior joined him on the medal stand this weekend, finishing with the bronze after running 13.61. 

Senior Mayson Conner added another title, winning the high jump with a season-best mark of 7 feet, 2.5 inches (2.20 meters) that ranks No. 11 nationally. Sophomore Tyus Wilson tied him after a personal best but finished runner-up since Conner cleared the mark on his first attempt. 

The Huskers also procured the winner in the long jump in the form of sophomore Till Steinforth, who leapt 25 feet, 7.25 inches (7.80 meters). Junior Micaylon Moore finished fourth in the event and third in the triple jump. Steinforth also won the conference title in the 10-event decathlon, winning that event’s 100 meters, 110-meter hurdles, and long jump.  

Nebraska swept the top two spots in the shot put, with senior Jonah Wilson, the national runner-up in the event indoors, joining Johansson with a nation’s best mark of 69 feet, 11.5 inches (21.32 meters) to edge out junior teammate Maxwell Otterdahl’s own personal best of 69 feet, 7.5 inches (21.22 meters). However, Otterdahl got the best of Wilson in the discus as they completed another one-two sweep. 

Sophomore Jenna Rogers won the women’s high jump with a leap of 6 feet, 0.5 inches (1.84 meters), and senior teammate Madison Yerigan finished third. Sophomore Lotavia Brown won the triple jump with a personal best mark of 43 feet, 9 inches (13.33 meters), and senior Ieva Turke finished fourth. 

Meanwhile, senior Tanessa Morris won the hammer throw with a toss of 205 feet, 11 inches (62.76 meters). The Huskers swept the top two spots of the javelin on both sides. Junior Arthur Peterson took top honors for the men ahead of freshman Dash Sirmon, and junior Rhema Otabor won it for the women ahead of junior Maddie Harris and two other Nebraska athletes in third and fourth. Otabor and Harris also hold the top two marks in the event nationally, although they did not set them this weekend. 

Notable performances on the track included sophomore Sam Easley finishing sixth in the men’s 800 meters with a personal best of 1:48.9, senior Omar Rodgers finishing fourth in the 400-meter hurdles and senior Nick Bryant placing sixth in the 400 meters after running a personal best 46.29 in the prelims. On the women’s side, senior Taya Skelton finished 8th in the 3000-meter steeplechase in 10:18, No. 6 in school history.

The title should bump the Husker men past their current standing of No. 14 in the national rankings, ahead of current No. 9 Iowa, who finished third at the Big Ten Championships. It also offers an improvement on Nebraska’s runner-up finish at the 2023 Big Ten Indoor Championships where they were upset by Wisconsin. The Husker men last won a conference title at the 2019 Big Ten Indoor Championships. 

Nebraska will next compete at the NCAA West Preliminary meet starting on May 24 as a number of Huskers attempt to qualify for June’s NCAA Outdoor Championships.