Feb. 22, 2013
EAST LANSING, Mich. - The women's distance medley earned a silver medal as the Michigan State track & field finished the first day of competition at the 2013 Big Ten Indoor Championships in Geneva, Ohio. After six events, the women are currently tied for eighth place with 10 points, while the men sit in 11th place with three points after five events.
"I think that we were up and down a little bit today," said director of track & field/cross country Walt Drenth. "That goes with track & field; you have some things that go well and some things that don't. I think we have some things we've got to fix. We had some good individual performances with some kids coming through in the clutch. I thought Josh McAlary and Leah O'Connor did well and our women's 600-meter group were very competitive. I thought Lonnie Pugh did a good job of resurrecting his shot put. I think our distance medley relays did well on both sides. In pockets, we would have liked to advance a few more people, but I think that it is inherent with the sport and in an incredibly competitive conference in every event. We just have to raise the bar. It's such a competitive environment, but at the end of the day, we have to realize that the bar continues to rise and we have to rise with it. If we want to be competitive in the Big Ten, we have to continue to raise our expectations."
Redshirt junior Amanda Impellizzeri finished in the top-ten of the pole vault competition, posting a mark of 3.70m/ 12-1½ to tie for 10th. Hitting the same mark but in more attempts, sophomore Kassie Powell finished 15th overall.
On the track, sophomore TeJuanna Williams posted a time of 7.69 in the 60-meter dash to finish 14th. With another top-20 finish in the event, freshman Janae Hill placed 19th with a season-best time of 7.78.
Four Spartans finished in the top-20 in the prelims of the 200-meter dash. Sophomore Alicia Evans (12th) posted a time of 24.53, sophomore Jellisa Westney (13th) clocked a time of 24.57, T. Williams (15th) finished in 24.70 and Hill (20th) crossed the finish line in 25.65.
Advancing to the finals in the 400-meter dash, Evans posted a top-five finish with a qualifying time of 55.00. Redshirt sophomore Jaelynn Pryor turned in a personal-best time of 55.55 to finish 13th, while Westney placed 14th with a time of 56.02. Also representing the Spartans in the event was sophomore Lindsey Seymour, who clocked a time of 57.18 for 20th overall.
Michigan State recorded two top-10 finishes in the 600-meter prelims as redshirt senior Alysson Bodenbach posted a career-best time of 1:30.14 for second-place and redshirt freshman Lauren Lampman placed sixth with a time of 1:31.50. Both Spartans will advance to the finals in the event. Redshirt freshman Sara Stassen competed in the 800-meter run, placing 19th with a time of 2:16.14.
In the prelims of the women's mile, redshirt sophomore Leah O'Connor, ranked No. 2 in the Big Ten, posted a time of 4:47.68 to place third overall and advance to the finals. Redshirt junior Veronica Wilson crossed the finish line in 5:01.59 to place 24th, while redshirt sophomore Angela Swain finished 28th with a time of 5:05.93.
Scoring points for the Spartans in the 3,000-meter run was redshirt sophomore Sara Kroll, No. 1 in the Big Ten, who posted a time of 9:30.88 to place seventh overall. Redshirt freshman Lindsay Clark also finished with a personal-best time of 9:32.56 to finish 10th. Also competing in the event was redshirt senior Katie Haines placed 30th overall with a time of 10:08.71.
The distance medley relay saw an exciting rally from O'Connor who came from behind in the last leg to lead the team to a second-place finish. The team of redshirt senior Rachel McFarlane, Bodenbach, Lampman and O'Connor clocked a time of 11:15.21 to earn a silver medal and points for MSU.
"I thought that women did a pretty good job of competing," Drenth said. "Leah O'Connor ran exceptionally well. She ran our team into second-place. I thought she did a great job of keeping her poise. She was sixth or seventh back, but she hung in there to get second. She has a lot of poise for a sophomore athlete."
On the men's side, sophomore DeVantré Whitelow followed up by placing ninth overall in the prelims of the 200-meter dash with a career-best time of 21.40. With a 24th-place finish, Sanders posted a time of 21.94 in the event. Whitelow turned in a top-10 finish in the prelims of the 60-meter dash with a season-best time of 6.81. Also competing in the event was freshman Austin Sanders who posted a time of 7.14.
Redshirt junior Keenan Michael posted a personal-best of 47.64 to qualify for the finals with a seventh-place finish in the 400-meter dash. Placing 23rd overall in the prelims was redshirt freshman Stephon Foster with a season-best time of 48.67, while sophomore Aaron Hendricks clocked a time of 49.35 to finish 27th.
In the prelims of the 600-meter run, redshirt sophomore Muhammad Sani finished 15th with a season-best time of 1:19.45, while freshman Brandon Wallace posted another season-best time of 1:20.04 to place 20th.
Posting a top-10 finish in the prelims of the 800-meter run, redshirt senior Joe Banyai finished seventh with a time of 1:49.49 to qualify for the finals. Sophomore Austin Wissler placed 15th with a personal-best time of 1:51.21, followed by redshirt freshman Ryan Haag with a time of 1:53.54 to finish 19th overall.
In the prelims of the mile, Redshirt senior Josh McAlary posted a time of 4:06.58 to finish 11th overall. With a 15th-place finish was redshirt junior Ben Miller with a time of 4:09.86, while redshirt sophomore Drake Vieteheimer finished in 4:34.04 to place 26th.
Redshirt freshman Caleb Rhynard turned in a top-10 time in the 3,000-meter finals, posting a personal-best 8:05.84 to place 10th. Also representing the Spartans was redshirt freshman Chris Collier finished 24th with a season-best time of 8:35.29.
On the field, redshirt senior Lonnie Pugh scored points for the Spartans with an eighth-place mark of 17.77m/ 58-3¾ in the shot put. Finishing 17th overall was redshirt sophomore Antonio James who posted a mark of 16.83m/ 55-2¾. Redshirt junior Chris Hessell (25th) threw for a mark of 15.58m/ 51-½, while redshirt freshman Jake Bennett (26th) hit a mark of 15.40m/ 50-6¼.
Sophomore Jarred Gambrell finished 15th in the long jump, hitting a mark of 6.83m/ 22-5.
In the pole vault, freshman Jaime Salisbury posted a mark of 4.98m/ 16-4 to place 13th, while redshirt senior James Nixon (14th) and redshirt junior Derik Peterman (15th) both took more attempts to hit the same mark.
The Spartans earned a seventh-place finish in the distance medley relay as the team of Miller, Michael, Wissler and McAlary finished in 9:44.30 to score for MSU.
"Josh McAlary did an amazing job," said Drenth. "He ran 4:03 in the distance medley. He wasn't anywhere near scoring and he ran right back into the race. We had a lot of bright spots; we just need to understand in general that when we come to a meet like this, it's not about particular individuals. It's about a whole bunch of people pursuing their best. I don't think we did that as whole, but we're going to do better with that tomorrow. I think our primary objective is to get everybody to understand that it's a team sport. If we do that, I feel like we'll have a better day tomorrow and walk away having made some progress."
The Big Ten championships will continue tomorrow, Feb. 23 at the SPIRE Institute with the final day of events to begin at 10 a.m.