April 23, 1997

Women's Track Prepares for Drake Relays

What: Drake Relays
Where: Des Moines, Iowa
When: Friday-Saturday,April 25-26

MUCH AT STAKE AT THE DRAKE: The most prestigious track and field event of the Spartans' schedule will occur April 25-26 at the Drake Relays in Des Moines, Iowa. The 88th edition of this historic meet will feature 108 women's collegiate squads, totaling 1,101 athletes. Held in 18,000-seat Drake Stadium, the Drake Relays are looking to sell out for the 32nd consecutive time, a U.S. track and field record.

The Spartans' roster will feature a bunch who have experienced the electricity of the Drake Relays. Senior Chandra Burns (Detroit), senior Lacrecia Tyus (Inkster) and junior Lawanda Byrd (West Palm Beach) each saw extensive time in a variety of relays during the 1996 running of the event. Byrd also competed in the 100-meter hurdles, clocking in at 14.12 seconds during the prelims.

HOME COOKING: The field couldn't touch the Michigan State distance crew, as it dominated the pack during the Michigan State Spartan Invitational, held April 19 on the Ralph Young Track. No team scores were kept, with athletes from such schools as Notre Dame, Toledo, Michigan and Detroit competing.

The Spartans swept the top three spots in the three longest races of the day, the 800, 1,500 and 3,000. Senior Stephanie Dueringer (Champaign, Ill.) continued her strong senior campaign by notching another race victory, this time capturing the 1,500-meter title in a time of 4:34.08. Teammates Amy Hayes (Shelby) and freshman Leah Nilsson (Williamston) finished right on the heels of Dueringer, timing in at 4:41.70 and 4:45.52, respectively.

Freshman Rita Arndt (Saline) broke through with a solid victory in the 800 (2:16.46), as she edged out teammate Karyn Duba (So., Alto), who finished just .05 seconds behind her at 2:16.51. Junior Becky Caldwell (Wyandotte) placed third in 2:17.33, while junior Shreatha McJunkins (Cleveland Heights, Ohio) grabbed sixth in 2:21.03.

Senior Tricia Clarke (Coleman) also came through with a win of her own, as she seized control of the 3,000 by posting a time of 10:22.73. She was followed up by fellow Spartans Sarah Roelofs (Jr., Wyoming) and Jen Denkins (Fr., Flushing), who seized second and third place with marks of 10:23.44 and 10:27.91, respectively. The pack couldn't touch the trio of Spartans, as the fourth-place finisher came in nearly 13 seconds off of third place.

The sprinting duo of Chandra Burns and junior Sevatheda Fynes (Nassau, Bahamas) continued to pace the field, as each came away with race victories. Fynes continued her brillance by capturing the 200 meters in 23.36, while Burns smoked the 100 in 11.71 seconds, crushing the nearest competitor by .41 seconds. However, Fynes denied Burns dual victories on the day, as Burns was the runner-up in the 200 with a mark of 23.79. Tyus made it a 1-2-3 finish by crossing the finish line at 25.50 seconds, while sophomore Lisa Holmes (Kalamazoo) made it four out of the top five for the Spartans by taking fifth place with a 25.64 mark.

Lawanda Byrd refused to be beaten in the 100-high hurdles, as she won the tightest race of the meet. Byrd stopped the watch in 14.29 seconds, just .04 ahead of second-place Arnika Edwards of Toledo. Byrd nearly pulled off a second victory in the triple jump (36' 11.5"), but lost an exciting event on a tiebreaker. Sophomore Heidi Jackson (Rochester, N.Y.) also had a solid leap in the triple jump, flying in at 35' 9.25".

The freshman duo of Laren Molanari (Clinton Township) and Zoe Hutchins (Lawrence) finished 1-2 in the pole vault, getting over the bar at 7' 10" and 6' 4", respectively. In other field event action, long jumper Lisa Brown (Fife, Scotland) picked up fourth with a bound of 18' 1".

Throwers Laura Weaver (Fr., Temperance) and Kelly Kellis (Jr., Portage) put on solid tossing exhibitons. Weaver took fifth in the javelin (84' 0"), fourth in the shot put (40' 0.75") and ninth in the discus (111' 7"). Kellis was just as solid, launching the javelin into sixth-place (83' 5"), earning sixth in the discus (114' 2") and placing second in the shot (42' 2"). Sophomore JoAnn Brown (Detroit) heaved the shot 41' 3.25", good for third place.