May 29, 2010
GREENSBORO, N.C. - The Michigan State track & field team concluded action at the NCAA East Regional hosted by North Carolina A&T in Greensboro, N.C., on Saturday, May 29. In the third and final day of action, the Spartans advanced four student-athletes in four events to the NCAA Track & Field Championships, bringing the total number to six individuals in seven events MSU will participate in. This marks the second-consecutive year the Spartans have qualified six individuals for the NCAA Championships.
"We had a good last day of competition today," said director of track & field and cross country Walt Drenth. "In almost every instance we exceeded our seeding. But, overall I thought we competed well all weekend. It's hard to go this many days in a row dealing with the heat. To have five championship qualifiers return from this group advancing to nationals next year is really going to be a good foundation. This weekend's performance bodes well for what we trying to establish. One of the most pleasing things about this weekend is that we are going to have someone from every event group competing at nationals. The weekend reflects what we are going for, having people advance in every event group. This is showing how much more well rounded this team is becoming."
Junior Emily MacLeod became the sixth individual to qualify for the NCAA Championships when she closed out action for the Green and White in the 5,000m run when she won the event with time of 16:14.52. MacLeod finished atop the standings of heat one over the next closest runner by 1.54, automatically advancing to the NCAA Championships in the event.
"Emily competed well tonight. We really thought she would to be able to win and it was one of her goals coming in to the weekend. She might have pushed the race a little bit, but she really ran away from the group at the end of the race. For her to come out at the end of the meet and do well was just a sign of toughness. That is what we are trying to instill in our group student-athletes," Drenth said.
A day after advancing to the NCAA Championships in the hammer throw, freshman Beth Rohl placed fourth in the discus throw with a school record and personal-best toss of 54.48m to advance in the event. Rohl entered the weekend ranked 27th in the region and finished the event as the top freshman in the East.
"Beth really did a fantastic job all weekend long in both of her events. She really bounced back this weekend after the conference meet two weeks ago," said Drenth.
Senior Kyron Foster was the first Spartan to advance today to the NCAA Nationals when he placed sixth in the triple jump with a season-best leap of 15.79m. Foster will look to repeat as an All-American in the event after becoming the first triple jumper in school history to be named an All-American during the indoor season. The Spartan senior entered the weekend ranked 10th in the region in the event.
"Kyron has really had to take care of himself dealing with his injury all season long. He is such a competitor and has really shown what one can do under duress. To me, that is as great of a contribution as one can give to a team," Drenth said.
Freshman Josh McAlary placed fifth in the 1,500m run with a personal-best time of 3:43.87. McAlary was the top freshman finisher and entered the regional ranked 44th in the region. McAlary advances to the NCAA Championships with his top-12 finish.
"Josh ran a substantial personal best today, but more importantly was the way he ran the race. He got tripped up with about 60-meters to go, or he may have had a chance to win it," noted Drenth.
Freshman Isaiah VanDoorne narrowly missed advancing in the 5,000m run when he turned in a 16th-place time of 14:16.57. VanDoorne entered the weekend ranked 28th in the region. VanDoorne was the second-fastest freshman in the event today.
"For Isaiah to take the lead with 1,000-meters to go really is a tough thing for a freshman to do. I thought he really owned the run and broke the field up," said Drenth.
After a weekend off, the Spartans will travel to Eugene, Ore., for the NCAA Track & Field Championships Tuesday-Saturday, June 8-12 held on the campus of the University of Oregon. All individuals who placed in the top-12 in their respective event at either the East or West Regional advanced to the NCAA Championships.
Spartans Advancing to NCAA Track & Field Championships (June 8-12 in Eugene, Ore.)
High Jump (1.81m - 1st) - School Record
Triple Jump (15.79m - 6th)
5,000m run (16:14.52 -1st)
400m hurdles (50.65 - 9th)
1,500m run (3:42.87 - 5th)
Hammer Throw (57.44m - 7th)
Discus Throw (54.48m - 4th) - School Record