With pitchers such as Burger Lambrechts, Alex Talley, and Axelina Johansson on the team, there’s no doubt that the Nebraska track team has plenty of muscle.

Truth be told, the Huskers have muscle in other on-field events as well. In fact, all of them.

Take a look at the Huskers heading to the NCAA Indoor Track and Field Championships, which take place Friday and Saturday in Birmingham, Alabama.

Lambrechts, Talley and Johansson will represent the “N” in throws. Mayson Conner and Jenna Rogers qualified in the high jump, and Darby Thomas will be aiming for All-America honors in the long jump after a breakout season.

Lincoln High graduate Darius Luff also qualified in the men’s 60-meter hurdles, giving NU eight NCAA entries (Talley qualified for two events), his most since dispatching eight in 2015. the top 16 in each event qualify for the NCAA Indoors.

Athletes in the field events lead the charge and each of them has the opportunity to score points. NU had six Big Ten conference champions indoors — the most since 2013 — and all six were in the field events.

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“In a way, I wish we were a little more balanced than we are right now,” NU coach Gary Pepin said, referring to the team’s poor season in the Trials. on track. “But one of the things that really changed was in this (Big Ten) conference or the Big Eight conference or the Big 12 conference, you could win a conference encounter if you had a really good balance. really changed in the last four or five years, and now it’s almost how many people you know will be in those top three or four positions in the competition.”

Talley ranks ninth nationally in the shot put and shot put, and Lambrechts is seventh in the shot put. Conner, a York graduate who ranked third outside the NCAA in June, is eighth nationally in the high jump.

Thomas is eighth in the long jump and Rogers is 10th in the high jump.

NU’s best shot for a national title might be the women’s shot put, where Swedish rookie Johansson is third nationally.

Nebraska’s depth in certain on-court events is quite impressive. Led by Darby, who won a Big Ten title, the NU women have long jumpers ranked No. 1, 2, 4, 6, 7, 10, 10 and 14 in the conference.


It's launch season for Darby Thomas and NU's women's long jumpers, which rank #1 in the nation

Lambrechts and Talley were the top two pitchers in the league’s men’s shot put. Three Husker men are in the top eight in the shot put, including Talley at No. 1.

And looking ahead to the outdoor season, the Women’s Husker just added top graduate and former NU volleyball player Kalynn Meyer, an elite discus thrower.

That kind of depth of on-court testing leads to more competition in training and better results in competition, Pepin said.

“There is competition all the time for these people to make it to competitions or get a position on the conference team, but on top of that, this is a group that, oddly enough, get along really good,” said the longtime Husker coach, who also coaches long and triple jumpers. “They really like each other a lot, they support each other a lot. Good work ethic.”


The freshman Swede from Nebraska is already No. 2 all-time in the shot put, and she's not the only Husker turning heads

New assistant coach Justin St. Clair has brought a lot of energy to the pitching teams, as well as a lot of talent. St. Clair, who had great success coaching at North Dakota State, brought with him Talley, who placed third in the shot put and sixth in the shot put in the indoor meet. the NCAA last year while competing for the Bison.

“He did a really, really good job,” Pepin said of St. Clair. “It all really starts with recruiting. To some extent it doesn’t make much difference how good a trainer you are if you don’t have thoroughbreds in the barn. You could be a good trainer and they are going to improve, but the chances of having people who score high in the national competition are pretty tough.

“He’s done a really good job, and that’s why some of the kids we have in the team right now, men and women, basically wanted to come here, because of him and because of the success we’ve had. in the past.”

Contact Clark Grell at 402-473-2639 or [email protected] On Twitter at @LJSSportsGrell.

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