March 9, 2013
EAST LANSING, Mich. - Redshirt sophomore Antonio James won a silver medal in the weight throw at the 2013 NCAA Indoor Track & Field Championships. With a MSU record-setting mark on the second and final day of competition in Fayetteville, Ark., James earned a second-place finish in his first trip to the national meet.
James, who entered the competition ranked fourth in the county, threw a career-best mark of 22.25m/73-0 to earn a second-place finish.
"The competition was good," said assistant coach John Newell. "Antonio (James) won the first flight with a big personal record of 73 feet. Unfortunately, Lonnie (Pugh) threw three throws out of the sector and fouled out. I thought that Antonio did a great job. He's deserving of being a runner-up. He realized that he could win and didn't hold anything back. The only thing that would've made this weekend any better would have been to see Lonnie get six throws. I'm so proud of everything that Lonnie has done; he's made this throwers group what it is. It hurts a lot that he didn't get to take six throws. He would've been in contention to win. I couldn't be happier with the group and I'm just looking forward to outdoors. Beth and Antonio both had personal bests this weekend. We were all ready.
"With Antonio, he actually had throws during prelims that would've won the meet. Getting used to being in this physical state comes with time and experience, because all of a sudden, things are going farther than they ever have and you're not necessarily trying. As he gets older and if he stays healthy, I don't think anyone will be able to beat him. Our goal now for Antonio isn't to come back to this meet next year and compete for a championship, it is to throw so far that everyone else in the nation is going to have to compete for second. It's a little bittersweet. I was just so excited for Lonnie and it's tough. But at the same time, Lonnie is a great teammate and he was right there helping Antonio. It just goes to show you how awesome Lonnie is."
In his first ever NCAA Indoor meet, James won the first flight of competitors with his record-breaking throw. It was enough to last him through the finals to place second overall.
"Going into the meet, I was confident with my technique," said James. "We got a chance to practice at the facility and I had a couple of 75 foot throws. So I felt good with where I was at. Coming into today, the training just carried over and I got results. I was feeling really good. I had the opportunity to take first, but I still had a pretty good throw to take second. It means a lot. I've got a really bright future ahead of me. I've just got a lot of good energy from this meet."
Redshirt senior Lonnie Pugh recorded three fouls in the first flight and did not qualify for the finals.
The Spartans will take a three-week hiatus before the start of the outdoor season at the Raleigh Relays on Friday, March 29 on the campus of N.C. State.