April 27, 2013
EAST LANSING, Mich. - Led by four individual wins and 14 personal-best performances, Michigan State track & field opened its weekend competition on Friday with a strong start. The Spartans pushed for regional qualifying marks as they competed at the Gina Relays at Hillsdale College as well as the Triton Invitational at UC-San Diego.
Recording personal-best performances was Melanie Brender (10,000m), Chris Collier, Meggan Freeland (3,000m steeple), Liana Eckert (3,000m steeple), Caleb Rhynard (1,500m), Lindsay Clark (1,500m), Sara Stassen (1,500m), Angela Swain (1,500m), Noriah Williams (200m), Brittany Dobson (800m), Eric Buday (800m), Edward Clifton (800m) and Connor Kostzrewa (hammer).
"The meet went pretty well," said director of track & field/cross country Walt Drenth. "We went there to try and get some people some marks to get them to the first round of the nationals and improve some performances. For the distance runners, it's the last big go before the conference meet. I thought it went really well. From the first race to the finish, we were pretty good. We raced well. We ran faster than we have. There's nothing like getting good weather to help you get going. The conditions were good. When you go to a meet like this and the first couple of races go well for the team, everyone jumps on board with the momentum."
The Spartans dominated the women's 5,000-meter run led by redshirt sophomore Sara Kroll who took first-place honors with a time of 16:22.15. With a career-best time of 16:36.19, redshirt junior Megan Rodgers placed second overall, while redshirt freshman Veronica Wilson placed fifth with a time of 16:45.23 in her first collegiate race in the event. Redshirt sophomore Daivd Madrigal posted a season-best performance in the men's race, recording a time of 14:17.89 to finish sixth.
"I'm really proud of Sara's effort because we need her; she's an important part of our success in the conference meet," Drenth said. "Her last race just went ok, so to pick yourself up and go to work is hard to do and I thought she did a nice job. Everyone who ran the 5K did a good job. We had some pretty good performances."
Posting a win in the 3,000-meter steeplechase for the third-straight meet, redshirt junior Ben Miller turned in season-best time of 9:00.19 for first-place honors. Redshirt freshman Chris Collier recorded a career-best time of 9:39.26 to place 20th.
Redshirt sophomore Leah O'Connor earned an individual win in the 1,500-meter run with a time of 4:21.41, while redshirt freshman Lindsay Clark finish third with a career-best time of 4:27.90. Also posting personal-best times in the event were redshirt freshman Sara Stassen (4:35.96) and sophomore Angela Swain (4:36.06).
"The 1500 went well," said Drenth. "Leah O'Connor was outstanding. The race went out slow and she had a lead almost the entire way and ran a really fast last 800-meters. I thought Lindsay Clark ran really well, too."
MSU place two in the top-three of the men's high jump competition as redshirt senior Kevin Jackson took first-place honors with a season-best mark of 2.05m/ 6-8¾. Sophomore Owen Hughes hit the same mark in more attempts to tie his season best and finish third. In the women's competition, freshman Adeline Grier-Welch posted an outdoor season-best mark of 1.62m/ 5-3¾ to place third overall.
"Kevin and Owen both look like their running pretty well," said Drenth. "We just need to get them some turns. They are both ready to jump over seven feet, so we're looking forward to that."
With a runner-up finish, redshirt sophomore Melanie Brender broke the meet record in the 10,000-meter run with a career-best time of 34.20.35.
"To cap the evening off, Melanie Brender was outstanding," said Drenth. "34:20 might be the best in the conference right now. That's a mark that will certainly get her to the first round of the nationals. It's a two-and-a-half minute personal best, so I thought she did a great job."
With a personal record in the 200-meter dash, redshirt senior Noriah Williams crossed the finish line in 24.93 for second place.
In the 800-meter run, senior Brittany Dobson recorded a career-best time of 2:16.64 to place third. The men also posted personal bests in the event as redshirt freshmen Eric Buday and Edward Clifton turned in times of 1:56.70 and 1:57.70, respectively.
"I thought the half-milers did a nice job," said Drenth. "With Brittany runner a personal best, it was a good way for her to end her career. She competed pretty well."
Posting a personal-best performance in the men's 1,500-meter run, redshirt freshman Caleb Rhynard finished fourth overall with a time of 3:50.97.
Redshirt freshman Connor Kostzrewa posted a personal record in the men's hammer throw, hitting a mark of 50.74m/ 166-6 to finish eighth overall.
Turning in a second-place finish in the 3,000-meter steeplechase was redshirt freshman Katie Landwehr with a time of 10:36.27. Redshirt juniors Meggan Freeland and Liana Eckert posted personal-best times of 10:54.42 and 10:59.84, respectively. Posting another career-best performance was redshirt sophomore Monica Randall with a time of 11:37.40.
In Thursday's elite discus competition at the Triton Invitational, redshirt senior Beth Rohl recorded a season-best mark of 57.10m/ 187-4. She was the top collegiate finisher in fourth place overall. Redshirt senior Lonnie Pugh recorded a season-best mark in the men's elite discus competition, throwing for 56.26m/ 184-7.
"The competition went really well," said assistant coach John Newell. "It was good for Beth to be able to get some throws under her belt. The guys had some good throws, too, so all in all the competition was good for us."
Redshirt freshman Kayle Noble posted a season-best time in the 5,000-meter run open competition on Thursday evening, crossing the finish line in 18:21.26.
The Spartans will continue competition at the Gina and Drake relays as well as the Triton Invitational on Saturday. Redshirt senior Josh McAlary will run at the Payton-Jordan Invitational on Sunday.