May 10, 2014
ALLENDALE, Michigan - The Michigan State track & field team qualified two more Spartans to NCAA Regionals as MSU concluded the outdoor regular season this weekend at the Last Chance weekend hosted by Grand Valley State University. The Lakers held two meets, the Second to Last Chance on Friday and the Last Chance meet on Saturday, where the Spartans turned in strong performances to continue in the postseason.
Clocking a NCAA Regional-qualifying time of 59.00 in the 400-meter hurdles, senior Jaelynn Pryor finished second overall in just her first race of the season.
"I thought Jaelynn (Pryor) did really well, all things considered," said assistant coach Randy Gillon. "She had a great meet. Having missed most of the season due to injury and only recently were we able to start hurdling these last two weeks or so. I know she's a tough kid, I know she competes really well and that she's a very strong-minded, strong-willed type of competitor, but you still don't know. So I thought it was really exceptional for her to go out there and run like she did and give herself a shot to get on the podium at Big Tens. It also gave her an opportunity to qualify for the first round of nationals. She did a good job."
Redshirt freshman Hannah Sailar punched her ticket to the NCAA Regional Championships, hitting a career-high mark of 3.98m/ 13-0¾ for a runner-up finish in the pole vault. The Spartan men finished one-two, led by freshman Tim Ehrhardt's mark of 5.00m/ 16-4¾ to take first-place honors. Redshirt senior Codi Mattix placed second with a mark of 4.85m/ 15-11.
"I think overall it was good," said assistant coach Ceith Creekmur. "We had confidence coming in and I think we ended on a pretty good note the last couple meets. I think confidence should be high for everyone.
"It would be extremely unlucky if that doesn't go to Regionals. That [mark] has gone every single year they have had the current system. Where she's placed right now, I think she will go. She's in the top 40. I think it will be a pretty safe bet. It's why we chose this meet at Grand Valley, because we knew the bar progression was going to hit the mark that I thought would qualify. When you look at where she's started, she's slowly been bumping up her PR [personal record]. I think there's more there. If you watch her jump, she had plenty of height on top of it. With four years to keep going higher, that's pretty cool. If she makes it, that would be four women pole vaulters, which is pretty nice. Also, taking four women to Big Tens with the caliber they are at just increases the chances for someone to make the podium. Someone's going to jump well."
Earning his sixth win in the discus this season, redshirt junior Antonio James earned his sixth win in the discus this season as he threw for a mark of 60.08m/ 197-1. In fifth place was redshirt freshman Vinny Gjokaj, recording a mark of 47.95m/ 157-4.
Redshirt senior Chris Hessell hit his personal record in the shot put with a mark of 17.14m/ 56-3 to finish second overall. He was followed by Gjokaj, who placed fourth with a mark of 16.77/ 55-0¼. Gjokaj also turned in a third-place finish in the hammer throw, posting a mark of 55.62m/ 182-6.
Junior DeVantre Whitelow won the men's 100-meter dash, posting a time of 10.79.
With a personal-best time of 14.74 in the 110-meter hurdles, redshirt senior Kurt Schneider finished fourth in preparation for his decathlon competition in the post season.
"We compare everything to the last decathlon that he did," said Creekmur. "We look at personal records, but in the decathlon, especially for someone like Kurt, he doesn't need to come in and PR every single event. He just needs to string along a series of pretty solid marks and would still be fine in terms of qualifying. I think there's more there. If you look at how fast he ran the 60-meter hurdles indoors, usually someone who runs that fast indoors will run a little quicker outdoors. Assuming everything else goes as planned, that should be fast enough to do the things he needs to do to get to where we want to go. I was happy with it."
In the 100-meter dash, sophomore Janae Hill turned in a runner-up finish with a time of 12.29. She also placed fourth in the 200-meter dash as recorded a time of 25.45. Senior Chelsea Henderson finished third in the javelin, posting a mark of 34.40m/ 112-10.
The Spartans will compete against conference foes next weekend at the 2014 Big Ten Outdoor Championships hosted by Purdue University in West Lafayette, Ind., on May 16-18.