June 11, 2014
EUGENE, Oregon - The Michigan State track & field program begin competition at the 2014 NCAA Outdoor Track & Field Championships at Hayward Field in Eugene, Oregon on Wednesday. Three Spartans - senior Kurt Schneider (decathlon), and junior Antonio James (discus) and Leah O'Connor (3,000m steeplechase) - competed against the top athletes in the nation on the first day.
After the first five events of the decathlon, Schneider is 12th with a total of 3,929 points. He entered his first NCAA Outdoor Championships ranked No. 18 in the nation. The final five events begin tomorrow at 2 p.m. ET.
"Kurt got off to a slow start on the first day, but we look for him to pick up steam on the second day," said MSU Director of Track & Field Walt Drenth. "The key to success in the multi-events is to move on quickly and I felt like Kurt did that well today for the most part. He is ahead of his pace from the conference meet and I look for him to top that number tomorrow."
Schneider began the day by finishing 18th in the 100m with a time of 11.26. He followed with a 14th place showing in the long jump with a mark of 7.19m (23-7¼) and an 18th place finish in the shot put with a distance of 11.94m (39-2¼). Schneider had his best finish of the day, when he cleared 2.08m (6-9¾) in the high jump to finish third. His day concluded in the 400m where he was 15th in 50.64.
O'Connor advanced to the finals of the 3,000m steeplechase for the second-straight year on Wednesday, after placing sixth in the semifinals in a time of 10:00.83. The finals will be on Friday at 8:35 p.m. ET.
"Leah won her section today and was in great control," added Drenth. "She didn't need to run hard and said she felt good late. We are excited for Friday's final to see how she will compete."
James failed to post a distance in the shot put today, fouled in his attempts. James will try to change his fortunes on Friday, when he returns to action in the discus at 4 p.m. ET.