Feb. 25, 2012
LINCOLN, NE - A Big Ten title in the high jump and a new school record in the women's 600-meters were just two of many highlights for the Michigan State Track and Field program in the final day of competition at the 2012 Big Ten Indoor Championships.
The women's squad was able move up from yesterday's eighth place position by rallying for 59 points this afternoon, giving them 77.50 points and a fifth place finish in today's conference championship. The men's team dropped two places from Saturday, finishing in ninth place with a total of 32.33 points.
Senior Becca Buchholtz claimed her fourth-career Big Ten title with the day's best leap of 5-10 ½ (1.79m) in the high jump, edging Indiana's Emma Kimoto, Wisconsin's Monika Jakutyte, and Nebraska's Marusa Cernjul who all tied for the second spot with 5-9 ¼. Buccholtz (East Troy, Wis./East Troy) is Michigan State's record holder in the high jump, passing the six-foot mark earlier this year at the Notre Dame Invitational in January.
The Spartans received another big performance from newcomer Brittany Lewis (Lambton Shores, Ont./St. Clair Secondary) who placed second in the women's 600-meter finals, breaking the school-record and her own Canadian Junior Women's record with a time of 1:28.78. The previous Michigan State indoor record was held by Pam Sedwick who ran 1:28.82 in 1981. Lewis finished just inches behind Shaniqua McGinnis of Ohio State in the second heat of the 600-meter final. McGinnis final time was 1:28:14, a Devaney Center facility record. In the first heat, Lewis' teammate Amelia Bannister (Concord, Mich./Albion) ran to a fourth-place overall finish with a time of 1:30.16.
Beth Rohl (New Buffalo, Mich./New Buffalo) continued to build on her outstanding track and field career with a third-place finish in women's weight throw. Rohl's best throw of the afternoon was a distance of 20.38m (66-10 ½). Rohl now has three indoor medals to her legacy, including a Big Ten title in 2009 and a second-place finish in 2011.
Rohl was complemented by Shatora Lewis (Toledo, Ohio/Scott), who threw 64-08 ½ in the finals which was good for seventh place.
In the women's triple jump, freshman standout Tori Franklin (Westmont, Ill./Downers Grove South) and last year's triple jump champion Ashley Stacey (Riverdale, Ill./Thornton Township) placed second and seventh for the Spartans. Franklin, a mid-season favorite to take the indoor title in only her first year, came up just short with a jump of 12.84m (42-01 ½) finishing behind Nebraska's Mara Griva who leapt 13.04m (42-09 ½). Stacey's top jump of the afternoon was 12.47m (40-11).
The men's throwers took the fourth through sixth spots in the weight throw, combining for twelve team points. Senior Jay Gillespie (Allen Park, Mich./Allen Park) led the team in fourth, throwing 21.16m (69-5 ¼), while Lonnie Pugh (Grosse Ile, Mich./Grosse Ile) placed fifth with 20.78m (68-2 1/4), and Antonio James (Romulus, Mich./Romulus) was sixth with 20.61m (67-7 1/2).
The men's and women's mile received points from Josh McAlary (Jackson, Mich./Lumen Christian HS) and Leah O'Connor (Croswell, Mich./Croswell-Lexington) who both finished seventh in their prospective events.
McAlary's time of 4:08.58 is impressive considering the circumstances. He had to participate in an unseeded men's 5000 meters just 35 minutes prior to competing in the men's mile finals due to a team scratch.
O'Connor's time in the mile - 4:48.54 - is just short of the personal best 4:47 mile she ran at the Spire Invitational earlier this month.
Michigan State's last distance event of the day was the women's 5000-meters, where Carlie Green was the team's top competitor with a fourth-place finish in a time of 16:27.78.
In sprints, Leslie Aririguzo (West Bloomfield, Mich./West Bloomfield) placed fourth overall in the women's 60-meter hurdles (8.28) while DeVantré Whitelow (Centralia, Ill./Centralia) earned four points for MSU in his championship debut for a fifth-place finish in the 60-meter dash (6.80).
In the men's heptathlon, Kurt Schneider (Lake Orion, Mich./Oakland Christian) completed the final three of his seven events, beginning with a third-place finish in the men's hurdles with a time of 8.32 seconds. He followed with a personal best 13-09 ¼ (4.20m) mark in the pole vault, and concluded his afternoon with another personal best of 2:42.27 in the 1000 meters. Schneider scored 5648 total points, up from 5349 points he scored at last year's Indoor Championships, to finish in fourth place just behind Jack Szmanda of Minnesota who had 5656.
Kevin Jackson (Detroit, Mich./Martin Luther King) was Michigan State's top performer in the high jump, passing the bar at 6-9 ½ (2.07m) which placed him eighth amongst conference competition.
Michigan State's final points of the afternoon came from a third place finish in the women's 4x400 relay. The team comprised of Brittany Lewis, Jaelynn Pryor, Alicia Evans, and Alysson Bodenbach ran for a combined time of 3:39.90, just short of the school-record time of 3:39.79 which they set at the Indiana Relays earlier this year.