NU Completes Second Straight Big 12 Indoor Sweep

Lincoln - Nebraska finished the final day of the Big 12 Indoor Track and Field Championships in a big way Saturday, sweeping both the men's and women's team titles for the second consecutive year in front of a home crowd of 3,361 at the Bob Devaney Sports Center Track.

The Huskers notched nine individual conference champions, including seven on Saturday, on their way to claiming the 11th and 12th indoor Big 12 titles in the conference's nine-year history. The men's (138.40) and women's (132) squads both edged second-place Texas, which compiled respective scores of 87 1/3 and 97. The win was the sixth straight for the men's team (eighth all-time), while the NU women recorded their second victory in as many years (fifth all-time). 

NU got rolling early with wins in the first five final sprint events. Priscilla Lopes easily won the women's 60-meter hurdles in a season-best and NCAA-leading time of 8.00 for the first Big 12 title of her brief career. Two races later, she cemented herself in the Husker record books by breaking the school record in the 60-meter dash in an Earth-scorching time of 7.23. The previous record of 7.24, held by Olympic great Merlene Ottey, stood for more than 24 years.

"The day was just overwhelming," Lopes said. "Being pushed by all of my teammates and the fans really helped me. Merlene Ottey was such a great athlete here. I never really thought that record was touchable." 

A pair of Nebraska natives also added their first conference championships in the short sprint events when Dusty Stamer took gold in the men's 60-meter dash and Nate Probasco won the 200 meters. Stamer, from Grand Island, won in a photo-finish by merely four-thousandths of one second over the defending NCAA champion, Oklahoma's DaBryan Blanton, while Probasco, from Scribner, ran a personal-best 20.99 to also defeat Blanton.

Nenad Loncar completed the Husker sweep of the men's and women's 60-meter hurdles with his winning time of 7.86. Another senior, Anne Shadle, won her second Big 12 title, and first in the women's mile, while setting the Big 12 Indoor Championships record time of 4:39.10. The mark was also a career low for Shadle.

Daniel Roper exhibited the potential of his talents in the men's triple jump, smashing his personal best to claim the men's long jump. Only a sophomore, Roper won the event with a leap of 51-11 ¾, surpassing his previous long by nearly a foot-and-a-half. The performance also gave him his first ever NCAA provisional-qualifying mark.

A slew of other Huskers put together outstanding performances on the day, including Peter van der Westhuizen (second) in the men's mile, Authea Chambers (second) in the women's triple jump, Bubba Kramer (third) in the men's shot put, Christi Lehman (second) in the women's pole vault, Aaron Plas (second) in the men's high jump, Mark Harrison (second) in the men's 600-yard run and Egle Uljas (second) in the women's 400 meters.

"We had two exceptional team performances over two fantastic days of track and field," Pepin said. "There were some of the best performances in the country here today, and I think the Big 12 Conference this year, at least on the men's side, is the best in the country.

"(The NCAA Indoor Championships) is what we are looking forward to now," Pepin added. "Hopefully we will have more people qualified by then, but we are looking forward to going to Arkansas."

The Huskers will try to add a few last-minute NCAA qualifiers next Saturday when they travel to Ames, Iowa, to compete in the Last Chance Qualifier.

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