Jan. 31, 1997

Spartans Take Third at Michigan Intercollegiates

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Saturday Feb. 1 SPARTAN INVITATIONAL Jenison Field House 10:30 a.m.

"HAVEN'T I SEEN YOU BEFORE?"
Michigan State hosts its second indoor meet of the season, as it entertains Western Michigan and Eastern Michigan on Feb. 1. The Spartans have tamed the Broncos in both meetings this season, a 20-point margin in the Michigan State Invitational and a 17-point cushion in last week's Michigan Intercollegiates (full story below). MSU has had its difficulties with the Eagles, however, as EMU captured the Michigan Intercollegiate championship last week in its home facility.

Western Michigan's success hinges on its field event squad, whose strong throwers took 41 of the 62 points in the weight throw and shot put during the Michigan State Invitational. WMU's Aaron Rosso threw for a NCAA provisional qualifying mark of 61 feet, five inches, during the Michigan Intercollegiates.

The Eagles have a strong overall squad, as they scored in every event but one in last week's victory at the Michigan Intercollegiates. Five Eastern runners grabbed individual titles as EMU dominated the middle and long-distance events.

BITTER IN-STATE BATTLE
The Spartans worked their way into a solid third-place finish at the Michigan Intercollegiates, held Jan. 24 in Ypsilanti. Despite trailing Eastern Michigan (164 points) and Michigan (126), MSU (90) did gain a bit of revenge against Central Michigan (87), edging them out for the third position. The Chippewas defeated the Spartans in the Michigan State Invitational on Jan. 18. Rounding out the field was Western Michigan (73) and Detroit Mercy (15).

A newcomer to the squad, it was hard to imagine junior Tyrone Garland (Cliffwood, NJ) stepping up and delivering a victory for Michigan State. Despite limited practice time, Garland did just that, destroying the field in the shot put, launching the rock 54' 6 1/4". Not listed on the preseason roster, Garland made a quick transition from football middle linebacker to shot put thrower. A four-time track letterwinner in high school, Garland played in ten games on the gridiron this season, making 51 tackles and picking off one interception. His victory earned the first points in the shot put by a Spartan this season.

Sophomore Kyle Baker (Anderson, Ind.) continued his dominance in the distance events, this time crushing the pack in the 3,000 meters, finishing over three seconds ahead of his nearest competitor. He hit the tape in 8:24.93, chalking up another victory in the 1997 campaign. A transfer from Ball State, Baker remains undefeated during the current campaign.

It had to happen sometime, but freshman Okoineme Giwa-Agbomeirele (Midland) finally met his match in the long jump. Undeafeted as a prepster and a collegian, he finished fourth at the Michigan Intercollegiates, despite a strong leap of 22' 11 1/4". But if the streak had to fall, Giwa-Agbomeirle can take consolation in the fact that it took a meet record by Aaron Oaks of Western Michigan (24' 0 1/4") to beat him. Giwa-Agbomeirele also picked up two points in the triple jump, bounding 45' 5 3/4".

The solid depth of MSU's distance runners complemented Baker's victory in the 3,000. Four Spartans picked up points in the 5,000, led by race runner-up junior Jim Jurcevich (Defiance, Ohio), crossing the finish line in 14:38.5, just one second off the winning time. He was followed by a trio of sophomores: Steve Schell (Dearborn; 14:50.5), Jacob Nay (Columbus, Ind.; 14:54.3) and Brendan Banyon (St. Joseph; 14:57.5). Senior Ryan Kennedy (Rochester Hills) continued his strong running, just missing a win in the mile by just .27 seconds, falling to Ben Reese of Eastern, 4:07.54 to 4:07.81. Sophomore Chris Wehrman (Pinckney) also picked up a couple of much-needed points in the mile, finishing in 8:36.17.

Sophomore Jason Coulter (Flint) set a career-best in the 600, finishing third in 1:20.73, while a fellow Flint native, senior Ramsey Watkins, picked up a point in the 55 hurdles (7.83). Junior Damon Heard (Ypsilanti) finished fifth in a tight 55 meter dash, crossing the line in 6.54 seconds. Sophomore Lee Mays (Muskegon Heights) sped his way to fourth place in the 400, stopping the watch in 49.64.

Other Spartan scorers included freshman high jumper Matt Ingram (Lyons) with a leap of 6'8", and senior Dean Rugh (White Lake) in the 800 with a time of 1:54.66.