Track & Field
Spartans add six medals to close out the final day of competition at the conference meet.
Jaelynn Pryor (400-meter hurdles) and Hannah Sailar (pole vault) punch ticket to NCAA Regionals.
James improves MSU discus record and several Spartans break personal records in Saturday's competition.
Gjokaj wins the discus and Mattix takes first in the pole vault on Friday in Knoxville.
MSU's only home meet, the 10th-annual event is held Friday, April 4 and Saturday, April 5.
Randy Gillon by the Numbers:
Last season, Gillon had his most successful outdoor season of his career with a total of five NCAA Championship qualifiers. Keenan Michael returned to the national meet for the first time since his freshman year, qualifying by winning both the first round and quarterfinal heats of the 400-meter hurdles at the NCAA East Regional. He recorded a time of 51.33 in the quarterfinal heat to automatically advance. Making a historic run, the women's 4x400-meter relay team qualified for the national meet for the first time since 1985. The team of Jellisa Westney, Alicia Evans, Jaelynn Pryor and Alysson Bodenbach punched their ticket to nationals with a season-best time of 3:36.39. All five of Gillon's representatives at the national meet earned USTFCCCA Honorable Mention All-American honors. Though they entered the meet seeded 24th, the women finished at the NCAA Championships a school-record 16th overall. Westney (100-meter dash), Evans (200-meter dash) and Pryor (400-meter hurdles) also represented the Spartans individually at the Regional Championships. During the indoor season, Gillon led two relay teams into the MSU record books and runner-up finishes at the 2013 Big Ten Indoor Championships. The silver-medal winning 4x400 relay team of Westney, Tori Franklin, Pryor and Bodenbach broke the school and previous SPIRE institute record with a time of 3:36.34. Breaking the school record in the Distance Medley Relay, the team of Rachel McFarlane, Bodenbach, Lauren Lampman and Leah O'Connor also turned in a silver-medal winning performance with a time of 11:51.21. Also at the indoor conference meet, Bodenbach earned a silver medal in the 600-meter dash (1:30.14), while Keenan Michael and DeVantré Whitelow were finalist in the 400-meter dash and 60-meter dash, respectively.
The 2012 season saw great success for Gillon and his sprint and hurdle group of student-athletes. Gillon helped lead Jaelynn Pryor to her first USTFCCCA Honorable Mention All-American honors after she competed in the 400-meter hurdles at the 2012 NCAA Outdoor Championships. She qualified with a time of 58.04 to place seventh overall at the East Regional Championships after earning a bronze medal in the event at the 2012 Big Ten Outdoor Championships. Along with Alysson Bodenbach, Jellisa Westney and Alicia Evans, Pryor was also member of the then-school-record breaking 4x400 relay team that placed fourth at the outdoor conference meet. In the 100-meter hurdles, Leslie Aririguzo set a new school record with a time of 13.37 to place 19th overall at the 2012 NCAA Regional Championships. Aririguzo also earned points for Gillon and the Spartans at the Big Ten meet placing fourth in the event, while Bodenbach (400m) finished in sixth-place with a 53.63 personal-best performance. Gillon and the Spartans also had a record-setting indoor season. Earning a Big Ten Indoor silver medal in the 600-meter dash, Brittany Lewis clocked a school-record setting time of 1:28.78. Earlier in the season, she broke the 22-year-old MSU record and a 37-year old Canadian Junior National record in the same event with a time of 1:29.96 at the Indiana Relays. She also set the school-record in the 500 meters (1:12.85) at the Notre Dame Invite. Earning points for MSU at the indoor conference meet was Amelia Bannister with a time of 1:30.16 for fourth-place in the 600-meter dash. Aririguzo set another school record in the 60-meter hurdles, placing fourth overall at the Big Ten Indoor Championships with a time of 8.26. Earning a bronze medal at the conference meet was the 4x400-meter relay team of Lewis, Pryor, Evans and Bodenbach, who ran for a time of 3:39.90, just short of the then-school-record time of 3:39.79, which they set at the Indiana Relays earlier this year. Also at the indoor Big Ten meet, DeVantré Whitelow earned fifth-place points for the Spartans with a time of 6.80, setting the fastest freshman time in the nation.
During the 2011 season, senior Yury Ratomski represented Gillon and MSU as the lone male sprinter qualifying for the NCAA East Regional Championships in the 400m dash with a season-best time of 47.25. Also competing at the meet, junior Leslie Aririguzo and freshman Jaelynn Pryor competed as the lone hurdlers for MSU. Aririguzo made her third appearance at Regionals, competing in the 100m hurdles with a time of 13.51, good enough for a 28th seed. Pryor made her debut in the 400m hurdles with the 41st-best time of 59.84. Scoring for MSU at the 2011 Big Ten outdoor conference meet, senior Erica Mann was a finalist in the 100-meter dash. At the 2011 Big Ten Indoor Championships, Gillon and the Spartans saw a bronze-medal winning performance by Amelia Bannister who clocked a personal-best mark of 1:29.79 in the 600-meter run. Bodenbach, Pryor, Noriah Williams and Bannister comprised MSU's 4x400-meter relay team that placed fifth overall, crossing the finish line in 3:44.46 for a season-best time. Setting a new MSU record during the indoor season was Carlie Green, Bodenbach, Bannister and Emily MacLeod in the distance medley relay with a then-record-breaking time of 11:17.62 at the Meyo Invitational.
In 2010, Gillon saw continued success as freshman Keenan Michael placed 22nd in the NCAA East Regional prelims with a time of 54.56, becoming the first Spartan to qualify for the national meet in the 400-meter hurdles since 1978. Michael placed fourth in the 400m hurdle finals at the Big Ten Outdoor Championships when he posted a time of 51.25. Jake Hamilton followed in eighth with a 52.29 mark, also qualifying for the regional meet. Michael was also a finalist in the 110-meter hurdles at the conference meet. Shane Wells made his second-straight NCAA regional appearance after he turned in a time of 14.10 in the 110m hurdles for third-place at the Big Ten outdoor meet. Yury Ratomski also appeared in the conference finals with a time of 10.99 in the 100m and clocked in at 22.01 in the 200m. Also at the conference meet, Wells and Ratomski joined forces with Durant Crum and Brandon VanDriel to race in the 4x100-meter relay, placing fifth overall with a time of 41.21. Michael, Hamilton, Ratomski and Stephen Humes teamed up for the men's 4x400m relay where they placed eighth at Big Tens with a time of 3:15.38. Juniors Erica Mann and Charelise Davis qualified for the Spartan women to the NCAA regional meet. At the conference meet, the 100m dash finals saw Mann and Davis finish fourth and fifth, respectively. Mann finished with a time of 11.86, while Davis clocked in at 11.91. Mann also competed in the 200m dash, where she finished sixth with a time of 24.34 to earn team points at the Big Ten outdoor meet. After placing second with a time of 23.78 in the 200-meter dash at the conference meet, Davis earned All-Big Ten second team honors. Mann and Davis were joined at the 2010 NCAA East Regionals by sophomore Leslie Aririguzo and freshman Alysson Bodenbach in the 4x100m relay after the team posted a time of 45.54 for a fourth-place finish at the Big Ten Outdoor Championships. Aririguzo also clocked a time of 14.00 in the 100m hurdle finals. The women's 4x400-meter relay team consisting of Bodenbach, Davis, Leah Elenbaas and Coryn Marzejon finished seventh at the conference meet with a time of 3:44.44. Concluding the indoor season for the Spartan sprinters/hurdlers, Shane Wells also earned a bronze medal in the 60-meter hurdles at the Big Ten Indoor Championships. The men's distance medley relay team of Stephen Humes, Jake Hamilton, Shane Knoll and Josh McAlary finished seventh with a time of 9:54.53. For the women, Erica Mann recorded two top-10 finishes at the conference championships. In the 60m dash, Mann finished fourth with a time of 7.51, while in the 200m dash, Mann recorded a time of 24.36 for eighth. Charelise Davis placed seventh in the 200m dash with a personal-best time of 24.29, while Leslie Aririguzo finished sixth in the 60m hurdles with a personal-best time of 8.48.
Gillon in 2009 saw Jeremy Orr, a regional qualifier in the 400m, run to a third-place finish at the NCAA Mideast Regional Championships, posting a time of 45.78. Also joining Orr as a regional qualifier was Yuri Ratomski, qualifying in the 200m with a time of 21.31 and Shane Wells, in the 110m with a time of 13.91. Indoor season saw the Spartan sprinters and hurdlers leave their mark in history by breaking three school records. Orr would once again break his own school record in the 400m with a strong time of 46.41. En route to claiming the silver medal in the 60m hurdles at the Indoor Big Ten Championships, sophomore Shane Wells broke his own record (7.93) with a time of 7.88. The 4X400 tandem, led by Jeremy Orr, and also included Keith Hewlett, Yury Ratomski and Michael Smoot, broke the 16 year old record (3:10.20) with a time of 3:09.59.
In 2008, Gillon coached Jeremy Orr to a second place finish in the 400m and third place finish in the 200m at the Big Ten Indoor Track and Field Championships. Orr also broke his own Spartan record of 46.79 in the 400m running a nationally ranked time of 46.73 at the Iowa State Classic. During the outdoor season, Gillon qualified four athletes in three events; the women's 4X100m relay, 100m hurdles and 100m into the NCAA Mideast Regional Championships. At the championships, the Spartan sprinters and hurdlers, under Coach Gillon's leadership, displayed steady growth and improvement. Senior Jackie Walton ran her 2nd best time of 13.48 in the 100m hurdles finishing 15th and freshman Erica Mann ran a team and personal best time of 11.57 in the 100m, finishing 12th in the region. At the 2008 Big Ten Outdoor Track and Field Championships Walton etched her name into Spartan history running a time of 13.46 erasing the 23 year-old record previously held by Joanne Childress (13.66).
In Gillon's first year, the Spartan sprinters and hurdlers delivered some of the Big Ten's top times along with school record breaking performances. Jeremy Orr finished second in both the 200m and 400m at the Big Ten Indoor Track and Field Championships. Earlier that season Michigan State saw Orr break the 24 year old 400m record of 47.05 held by Spartan great Eliot Tabron, replacing it with a time of 46.79. Orr also took down his own record in the 60m, sprinting to a time of 6.71. At the Notre Dame Invitational John Childress sped to a time of 7.94 in the 60m hurdle, etching his name into the Spartan record books and eclipsing the record of 7.98 held by E.J. Martin. Additionally, Gillon qualified five athletes in four events; the women's 4X100m relay and 100m hurdles, and the men's 110m hurdles, into the NCAA Mideast Regional Championships. Gillon coached former Big Ten track standout and professional athlete Nicole Whitman to personal best times in the 100m (11.43) and 200m (23.40).
His coaching resume also includes two years of experience with the Illinois State University track program, first as a volunteer coach, then as an assistant coach for both the men's and women's programs. Prior to his stint at Illinois State University, Gillon spent one season as a volunteer coach for the women's track team at the University of Illinois. He also served as an undergraduate advisor and tutor for the Illini. Gillon earned a bachelor's degree in kinesiology (2000) as well as a master's degree in kinesiology (Biomechanics, 2002) from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. A three-year letter winner for the Illini, Gillon graduated eighth on Illnois' all-time record chart with a time of 14.15s in the 110m high hurdles. Gillon is married to Nicole Whitman. The two were married in September 2008 and they reside in Grand Ledge, MI with their two young daughters.
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