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MSU Track & Field Concludes Split Weekend Competition

In his first race of the season, redshirt sophomore Stephon Foster won the 400-meter dash.

April 12, 2014

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EAST LANSING, Mich. - The Michigan State track & field team split competition on Saturday as members of the team made the short trip to the Don Klienow Invitational at Siena Heights in Adrian, Mich., while several Spartans finished competition at the 2014 Tennessee Relays in Knoxville, Tenn.

“Overall I thought the team did well,” said assistant coach Lisa Senakiewich at Siena Heights. “It was definitely a successful day. To come to this meet, leaving early to get here and dealing with issues throughout the day, they stayed on task and took care of business. There were ones that chose to compete and make the most of it. It’s really windy, and the ones that didn’t let that be an element to how well they were going to do did really well.”

At Siena Heights, redshirt sophomore Stephon Foster won the 400-meter dash in his first race of the season as he crossed the finish line in personal record time of 48.38.  He also placed fourth overall in the 200-meter dash, racing in the event for the first time in his Spartan career and clocking a time of 22.76.

“In his first meet out in a while, he did a nice job competing,” Senakiewich said. “He had great energy and it was cool to see.”

Freshman Aubrey Wilberding took first-place honors in the 400-meter dash, racing in the event for the first time and crossing the finish line in 55.64.

“Aubrey Wilberding won the 400,” said Senakiewich. “She did great. We’ve been running her in the half mile and occasionally the 4x400 and the 1,500. We thought it would be a natural place to go to for her this weekend and she led start to finish and looked great doing it. She’s another freshman that we’re really excited about.”

The MSU women took first and second place in the 800-meter run as freshman Erin Billette (2:13.08) finished first, followed by teammate Angela Swain (2:15.83). Redshirt freshman Molly Jeakle (2:18.56) and redshirt junior Devan John (2:22.26) were also in the top-10 finishing in fourth and eighth, respectively.

“In the women’s 800m, Erin Billette won as a freshman,” said Senakiewich. “She led the whole way and did a really nice job of maintaining her poise. For a freshman to go out there, even if it’s not a high-level meet, there are still nerves and for her to go out and run the race she did, it’s been really neat to see her progress since the fall. I think she’s got a lot of good racing to look forward to.”

Winning the 1,500-meter run was redshirt sophomore Sara Stassen with a time of 4:36.26, while redshirt freshman Natalie Smith placed fourth with a time of 4:44.79.

“Sara Stassen won the 1,500m, leading from gun to tape,” Senakiewich said. “She just didn’t mess around and it was good to see her take that initiative in a race because it’s been a while since we’ve seen her do that. She did a great job.”

Sophomore Edward Clifton turned in a runner-up finish in the 800-meter dash as he won his heat with a time of 1:53.99. Placing eighth overall was sophomore Brandon Wallace running a time of 1:56.13, while redshirt freshman Joe Oehrli earned a season-best time of 1:57.75 to finish 12th overall.

“In the men’s 800m, Ed Clifton just competed really well,” said Senakiewich. “He didn’t get in his own way, he just did what he needed to do. He’s really starting to come around and it’s a nice progression to see really with the whole 800m men’s group. They are willing to work hard, they want to get better and do pretty much whatever they have to do to make that happen.”

The Spartan men also competed in the 1,500-meter run, led by redshirt sophomore Eric Buday (4:05.22, ninth), redshirt sophomore Andrew Cusmano (4:05.56, 10th), redshirt junior David Madrigal (4:05.60, 11th) as well as redshirt junior Ryan Konen(4:08.06, 13th), redshirt freshman Ryan Beyea (4:10.30) and redshirt freshman Josh Kersjes (4:12.02, 16th).

Turning in a runner-up finish in the discus was redshirt senior Kaylee Finney with her season-best mark of 46.63m/ 153-0. Senior Chelsea Henderson finished second overall in the javelin as she threw for a mark of 33.7m/ 108-6. She also hit a season-best mark of 40.56m/133-1 in the hammer throw.

In the shot put, redshirt sophomore Jake Bennett (15.88m/ 52-1¼) and redshirt senior Chris Hessell (15.87m/ 52-0¾) finished fifth and sixth, respectively. Hessell also placed sixth in the javelin with a mark of 41.72m/ 136-10.

“The throws group has been out here all day and their energy has stayed positive,” said Senakiewich. “They’re just happy to be out here and be able to compete.”

Redshirt freshman Jordan Keefe earned a win in the pole vault, hitting a season-best mark of 3.83m/ 12-6¾.

Junior Kelsey Kuipers placed fifth overall in the high jump, tying her season-best mark of 1.58m/ 5-2. In the 100-meter hurdles, freshman Nadia Lorencz finished third overall with a season-best time of 15.45.

Freshman Kayla Godbee finished 11th overall in the 100-meter dash and 20th in the 200-meter dash prelims with season-best times of 13.75 and 28.25, respectively.

Meanwhile, redshirt junior Antonio James earned a runner-up finish in the men’s discus invitational at the Tennessee Relays with his mark of 57.72m/ 189-4. He also finished sixth overall in the hammer throw, hitting a mark of 61.57m/ 202-0.

The women's 4x100-meter relay team finished second overall as the team of juniors Jellisa Westney, Alicia Evans, TeJuanna Williams and junior Lindsey Seymour turned in a season-best time of 45.32.

Michigan State also placed fourth in the 4x400-meter relay as the women's team of senior Jaelynn Pryor, Seymour, Williams and Westney clocked a time of 3:43.14.

The men's 4x400-meter relay team of sophomore David Washington, junior Ross Parsons, sophomore Austin Sanders and junior DeVantré Whitelow finished fifth overall with a time of 3:12.00, the fastest time MSU has posted this season.

With a season-best time of 23.83 in the 200-meter dash invitational, Westney placed fourth overall.

Freshman Tim Ehrhardt competed in the pole vault invitational, turning in a season-best mark of 5.05m/ 16-6¾ to finish fifth overall.  

In the long jump, redshirt senior Kurt Schneider placed seventh overall with his season-best mark of 7.14m/ 23-5¼.

“I thought day two went well in a number of areas,” said assistant coach Randy Gillon. “We had a little bit of everything going on in terms of multiple relays, invitational pole vault, high jump and throws. The men’s pole vault, I thought Tim Ehrhardt managed himself pretty well in a pretty tough, competitive environment. An invitational can be pretty overwhelming and a little bit daunting for a young pole vaulter, and he did a pretty good job out there. It continues to be an area of strength for that event group. It was also good to see Kurt (Schneider) going.”

The Spartans will be back in action next weekend at the Jesse Owens Track Classic at Ohio State University on April 18 and 19.



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