axelina_national_championaxelina_national_champion
Jack Coil

Axelina Johansson won her first NCAA shot put gold medal.

Track and Field

Johansson, Otabor Win NCAA Titles

Nebraska women's track and field throwers Rhema Otabor and Axelina Johansson were crowned national champions on Thursday at Mike A. Myers Stadium in Austin, Texas. 

Otabor, a junior from Nassau, Bahamas, earned the NCAA javelin gold medal in her first year as a Husker, breaking her own school record. Johansson, a sophomore from Hok, Sweden, won the NCAA shot put gold medal after finishing second at the NCAA Indoor Championships this year and third at the NCAA Outdoor Championships last year. They are the first Husker women to win NCAA titles since Dace Ruskule (discus) in 2006. 

The Husker women scored a total of 25 points on Thursday and are in first place in the team standings with six of 21 events completed. 

Otabor broke her own school record with a throw of 195-2 (59.49m) on her second attempt to earn the javelin national title. Otabor became just the second Husker woman to win a javelin national title, joining Denise Thiemard (1983).  

Johansson won the shot put with a best throw of 63-3 1/4 (19.28m), which came on her last attempt with the title already clinched. All six of her throws were good enough to win the gold medal. She is the third Husker female to win an NCAA shot put title, joining Tressa Thompson (1997, 1998) and Becky Breisch (2003). 

Maddie Harris finished fourth in the javelin to earn first-team All-America honors for the second straight year. Harris's best effort on Thursday was her first attempt, which went 187-10 (57.26m). 

Till Steinforth wrapped up the decathlon in fourth place with 7,991 points. His finish was the best ever by a Husker in the decathlon. Steinforth ended the meet with a personal best in the 1,500m (4:42.99), and he also had a season-best 131-7 (40.10m) in the discus. 

Velecia Williams placed 10th in the long jump with a leap of 20-2 1/4 (6.15m), which earned her second-team All-America honors. 

Taylor Latimer finished 20th in the shot put with a throw of 53-11 (16.43m), earning USTFCCCA honorable mention. 

On Friday, Tyus Wilson and Michael Hoffer will compete in the high jump at 7:30 p.m. Maxwell Otterdahl and Jonah Wilson will throw the discus at 7:35 p.m, and Darius Luff will race in the 110m hurdles final at 8:42 p.m.