MSU Track & Field Completes B1G Championships With Four Medals
Redshirt-senior Tim Ehrhardt wins first outdoor pole vault title.
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BLOOMINGTON, Ind. - After capturing the indoor pole vault title twice, redshirt-senior Tim Ehrhardt won his first outdoor Big Ten pole vault title on Sunday, in the final day of the B1G Track Championship in Bloomington, Indiana. The Spartans captured four medals on the final day of action.
The MSU men finished in eighth place with 53 points, while the Spartan women ended in 10th place with 35 points. Ohio State men’s squad took the title with 109 points, while the Minnesota women held on for the title with 134 points.
“Culturally, we have to be a team that is willing to take some chances and to be all-in. We have to be a little more cohesive. The fact of the matter is, we have a lot of grinders on this team; people who are just growing into events,” MSU Director of Track & Field and Cross Country Walt Drenth said. “We have to get better with both groups, but I am happy with how we behaved the whole weekend. I thought we were tough from beginning to end, and we out-performed our seeding.”
Along with Ehrhardt’s championship, redshirt-senior Katelyn Daniels was second in the discus in a dramatic final. The Spartans’ success in the discus was also on the men’s side, with freshman Jerimiah Evans demolishing his personal best to take third in the men’s discus. On the track, redshirt junior Justine Kiprotich was second in the men’s 1,500.
With a personal-best of 5.41m, Ehrhardt captured a tight race with Cole Gorski of Ohio State. After securing the win, Ehrhardt went for the MSU record, but was unable to convert at 5.51m. The redshirt-senior continues a storied career, winning the Big Ten indoor title in both 2015 and 2017. He also holds the MSU record in the decathlon with 8,044 points earlier this season. Fellow senior Noah Gary finished tied for ninth with a vault of 5.07m.
“The distance, the times, the height they don’t matter; it is what place that you get. To end as a Big Ten Champion is a great way to go out,” Drenth said. “It is fun to watch Tim compete. He never runs out of energy. We always talk about being strong at the end of the meet in the 5,000m, the 200m and the 4x400. With his running in the 4x400 he exemplified his toughness.”
“It is really special to win today. I struggled earlier this season with pole vaulting, so I was excited to come out here with such tough competition. The Big Ten has been getting better and better at vaulting. It was really exciting to come out here and get some points for the team this weekend,” Ehrhardt said.
The women’s discus was a dramatic affair that came down to the final throw. Daniels started slow with an opening heave of 43.92m and a foul on her second attempt. On her final throw of the first round, she went from 15th to second with a throw of 56.92m to advance to the final. She found her stride in the final with an opening throw of 56.92m. On her last attempt, Daniels threw a season best 57.75m to take a brief lead. Iowa’s Laulauga Tausaga captured the gold on the last throw of the event (58.39m).
Daniels has now medaled in the discus all four years of her storied Spartan career, taking the gold in East Lansing in 2015. She has now won three-straight silver medals.
“On the last throw, I moved into first and threw as season best. She got me (Tausaga) on the last throw. She is an awesome competitor, and it was a really good field. There is more to come for me, and I am excited for the next couple weeks,” Daniels said.
Freshman Kayli Johnson had her second PR of the meet with a throw of 46.04m in the discus. She also registered a personal best in the shot put on Saturday, while fellow freshman Nikole Sargent added a throw of 45.02m.
MSU continued its domination in the discus when Evans demolished his personal best to take third in the men’s discus. In his second throw of the competition, he cruised into the final with a throw of 60.58m. He previous best was 54.00m at Raleigh Relay.
“You could tell that he wasn’t going to be afraid of anything today. That is generally the first step in the right direction. Coach (Lonnnie) Pugh said that he is ready for something big. He just came out and let it go with a 60.58m, which is one of the top throws in the country as a freshman. He is going to be outstanding and is calm under pressure,” Drenth said.
The Spartans started the day with the women’s triple jump, where senior Morgan Johnson scored a season best with a 11.36m on her final jump in the first round. Redshirt junior Shelby Allen advanced to the final and finished ninth (12.38m).
Kiprotich, the defending champion in the men’s 1,500m, medaled for the second-straight season. In a tight battle, Kiprotich and Wisconsin’s Oliver Hoare pulled away from the pack. Hoare passed Kiprotich with less than 300m left to capture gold. The Spartan redshirt-junior finished with a time of 3:50.53.
“Today was bittersweet for sure. Second place wasn’t the place I wanted to come in, but it is good enough for now,” Kiprotich said. “We definitely ran the race that we wanted, so I am happy with that. We are heading into regionals feeling good. I definitely want to go for more.”
In the women’s 1,500m, sophomore Dillon McClintock finished sixth with a time of 4:32.01.
Michigan State finished fourth and sixth in the women’s 5,000m. Junior Erin McDonald was fourth with a time of 16:46.77, while sophomore Jeralyn Poe had another solid outing with a time of 16:53.43 to finish sixth.
Junior Taylor Mullins scored points for Michigan State when she finished seventh with a time of 59.21. She crushed her previous best of 59.35 at the Virginia Challenge.
The Spartans will now await the announcement of the NCAA Preliminary Round, which will held in Tampa, Florida on May 24-26.