May 29, 2014
EAST LANSING, Mich. - Junior Antonio James highlighted the first day of action for the Michigan State outdoor track & field program on Thursday at the 2014 NCAA East Preliminary Round at Hodges Stadium in Jacksonville, Fla. James qualified for the 2014 NCAA Championship by finishing 10th in the shot put with a toss of 19.08m (62-7 ¼). It will be the first time he competes at the outdoor NCAAs in the shot put.
"I thought everyone who competed today, competed well," said Spartan director of track & field Walt Drenth. "We are continually trying to learn and exceed our seeding, and I thought we did that in almost every case today. AJ knows what to do in championships and big events, and again today he rose to the occasion. He brought the crowd into his throws and nearly threw an outdoor personal best. We thought he had a great chance to advance through and he did that today."
In the 10,000m races, junior Ben Carruthers ran 30:33.56 to place 21st and classmate Alex Wilson was 38th in 32:02.82 on the men's side, while junior Melanie Brender was 32nd for the women in a time of 35:56.00. All three missed qualifying for the NCAA Championship.
Also competing today for the Spartans but not advancing to the NCAAs, senior Jaelynn Pryor was 28th in the 400m hurdles with a time of 59.43 and sophomore Sara Stassen finished 36th in the 1,500m, clocking a time of 4:25.66. In the women's long jump, senior Ashley Stacey landed at 5.80m (19-½ ) for 41st place.
"I felt bummed for Jaelynn, as she wasn't 100%, but I was pleased with how she bounced back from the disappointment at Big Tens," added Drenth. "She competed and nearly advanced and nearly produced a season best. I thought Ashley jumped alright, and I know she will jump better on Saturday in the triple jump.
"We have a majority of our student-athletes coming up over the next two days. They all are now familiar with their surroundings a bit more, and should learn from watching their teammates engage today and gain more confidence from that."
A total of 12 Spartans will compete tomorrow beginning at 10 a.m. Each student-athlete will need to finish among the top-12 to advance to Eugene, Ore.