March 30, 2013
EAST LANSING, Mich. – The Michigan State track & field team shined on the second and final day of competition at the Raleigh Relays on Saturday. Held at the Paul Derr track facility on the campus of NC State University, the Spartans showed balance by posting several top-five performances in the first meet of the outdoor season.
“I was really pleased with the second day, I thought we were a lot sharper,” said director of track & field/cross country Walt Drenth. “We had a number of strong performances. Overall, our effort from start to finish was pretty good. I think we ran out of gas a little bit, but we’re really in a heavy training period right now. We’re just getting going for the outdoor season. In the early part when you got to a two-day event, we have to learn to compete for two days. I thought we sustained ourselves, but we haven’t been in this kind of weather since the fall.
“I thought Beth (Rohl) and Lonnie (Pugh) did very well in the hammer. Across the board, our 400-meter hurdlers got off to a great start. We need to see them start making progress in a variety of events and we saw great evidence of that today. I’m thrilled with the way they went after the second day. I thought that emotionally, we were in it the whole time. We really competed pretty well. Overall, our effort from start to finish was pretty good. It’s nice to see a number of big schools and we certainly measured well with them. Fundamentally, we’ve got some things we have to continue to get better at. But for a first event outdoors, I thought it went quite well and I’m very optimistic.”
In the men’s hammer throw, redshirt senior Lonnie Pugh turned in a runner-up finish with a mark of 59.73m/ 195-11. Also placing in the top-20 was redshirt freshman Connor Kostrzewa who posted a mark of 48.51m/ 159-2 to place 19th overall. Redshirt junior Chris Hessell threw a career-best mark of 50.23m/ 164-9 in the javelin to finish 23rd.
Sophomore Jarred Gambrell represented the Spartans in the triple jump, recording a 10th place mark of 14.31m/ 46-11½ (-1.6 wind).
For the second day in a row, the men were led on the track by redshirt senior Keenan Michael who turned in a top-five finish in the 400-meter hurdles. Michael placed third overall with a time of 51.44. Freshman Jacob McFadden also competed in the race, posting a time of 54.48 to place 20th. MSU was also represented in the 200-meter dash as freshman Austin Sanders finished 19th with a time of in 22.79 (-2.6 wind).
The Spartans placed two in the top-10 of the 800-meter run. Sophomore Austin Wissler finished sixth with a career-best time of 1:50.26, while redshirt senior Joe Banyai placed ninth with a time of 1:51.26. Also competing in the event was redshirt sophomore Muhammad Sani who place 24th with a time of 1:58.93.
Later, the men turned in two successful 4x800-meter relay finishes. Placing third overall, the team of redshirt senior Josh McAlary, redshirt freshman Ryan Haag, Banyai and freshman Brandon Wallace posted a time of 7:31.97. Meanwhile, the team of Wissler, redshirt junior Ben Miller, redshirt freshman Chris Collier and Sani recorded a time of 7:44.43 to finish 12th overall.
“Our 800-meter runners did great as did our 4x800 relay teams,” said Drenth. “Austin Wissler ran a great personal best in the 800. I thought our ‘B’ relay team was very competitive.”
Highlighting the women was sophomore Tori Franklin who earned a win in the women’s triple jump. She recorded a personal-best outdoor mark of 13.07m/ 42-10¾ (1.3 wind) to take first-place honors. Junior Ashley Stacey also placed in the top-10, posting a mark of 12.27m/ 40-3 ¼ to finish sixth.
“It was great to see Tori Franklin get going,” Drenth said. “That was the best outdoor mark in the triple jump ever. She had a great mark for her first time out. With those sorts of events, you’ll continue to see progress as she jumps further and further as she gets more comfortable throughout the season.”
In the throws events, redshirt senior Beth Rohl took a runner-up finish in the hammer throw with a mark of 60.12m/ 197-3. Placing 22nd overall in the javelin, freshman Chelsea Henderson posted a mark of 35.63m/ 116-11.
Redshirt junior Amanda Impellizzeri posted a top-five finish for MSU in the pole vault. She hit a mark of 3.85m/ 12-7½ to place third overall.
On the track, the Spartans posted three top-20 finishes in the 200-meter dash. Sophomore Alicia Evans was the top MSU finisher, clocking a time of 24.51 to place fifth overall. Finishing eighth overall was sophomore TeJuanna Williams with a time of 24.64, while sophomore Jellisa Westney posted a time of 25.08 to place 16th.
Redshirt sophomore Jaelynn Pryor turned in an impressive performance in the 400-meter hurdles. She finished first overall with a time of 59.45. Also placing in the top-20 for the Spartans was sophomore Lindsey Seymour who posted a time of 1:02.23 to finish 15th.
“Jaelynn (Pryor) ran well,” said Drenth. “Lindsey Seymour did a great job. It was the first time she had ever run in the hurdle race and to run as fast as she did her first time out, there is no reason to think she won’t have a great shot of making the final at Big Tens.”
Redshirt freshman Lauren Lampman represented the Spartans in the 800-meter run as she placed 25th with a time of 2:14.29.
For the relays, the women’s 1,500-meter relay finished third overall. The team of redshirt sophomores Sara Kroll, Angela Swain, Leah O’Connor and redshirt junior Veronica Wilson recorded a time of 18:32.88.
The 4x100-meter relay also posted a top-five finish for the Spartans. With a time of 45.96, the team of Williams, Westney, Evans and freshman Janae Hill placed fourth overall.
“It’s a jumping in point and if we make progress from here, I think we’ll have a number of people qualify for nationals,” Drenth said. “Our expectations will be high moving forward. All we can do is take who are and improve. If we do that now, we’ll be a formidable track & field team by the end of the year.
Next weekend, the Spartans will host the ninth-annual MSU Spartan Invitational on April 5 and 6 at the Ralph Young Track in East Lansing, Mich.