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EUGENE, Ore. – Michigan State track & field junior Katelyn Daniels used a season-best throw to finish sixth in the discus at the NCAA Track & Field Championships at Historic Hayward Field in Eugene, Oregon on the final day of competition. Daniels was competing in the NCAA Championships for the third-straight season.
With the sixth-place finish, the junior earned her second-straight first-team All-American honor. Last season, she finished fifth in the discus to earn first-team All-American honors, as a freshman she finished 15th to garner second-team accolades.
Shadae Lawrence of Kansas State captured the discus title with a throw of 61.37m.
“Katelyn has grown so much since the conference meet and even after the regional meet. I told her, ‘Go toward something, don’t defend it.’ I felt like she was just trying not to mess things up, knowing that her back wasn’t that great. She looked like she was having a great time out there. That is what you want, to have them all in and excited to see what they can do,” MSU Director of Track & Field and Cross Country Walt Drenth said.
“It is amazing. This program has given me so much. Michigan State is just wonderful and everyone who is here is wonderful. It is just so much bigger than me; to do it for something I love so much is a really good feeling,” said Daniels.
Daniels got off to a fast start in the first round with a throw of 54.72m on her first attempt to take the lead in the first flight. She threw 51.58m in her second try and fouled on the third attempt. The junior then had to wait for the results of the second flight of discus action, as the top nine advanced to the final.
“In that situation I am just freaking out, walking around all over the place. It is out of your control at that point, which is probably the hardest part. I am glad I made the finals that was the important part,” Daniels said. “I think I learned a lot about mental toughness, and that you can never really count yourself out. There was a period this season when I wasn’t having much fun, and I kind of re-focused to perform in a way that I know I can perform. I controlled the things that I can control. My back is out of my control; the weather is out of my control,” said Daniels.
With her first attempt, she passed her best attempt at the NCAA East Prelims (53.57m) and the Big Ten Championships (53.73m).
“I think that you just try to stay in the moment and plan ahead. It was huge for her to win her flight, but then you have to go back to wherever it is that they take you and start thinking about throwing again. She was fantastic. I don’t know how many of them threw better in the second set of throws,” Drenth said. “Certainly, to throw a season best is a great way to end the season.”
Daniels advanced to the final in the ninth and final spot. She improved on her first two throws of the final round with a throw of 55.42m with her first attempt and a season-best 56.12m on her second. The throw of 56.12 moved her into sixth place.
Overall, Oregon won the women’s title with 64 points. Michigan State finished tied for 52nd with three points.
“I felt like we were really engaged all week. The things that we asked them to do for the most part we did really well. We were at our best in almost every event better than we have been all year. I know Noah (Gary) and Hannah (Sailar) both have had higher bars, but they really competed well.” said Drenth. “I was really pleased with how we were engaged. The confidence that they have to have coming off this meet is invaluable.”
The Spartan men concluded the 2016-17 season with the distinction of scoring at Nationals in cross country, indoor and outdoor track & field.