Jan. 17, 1998

Freshmen Pole Vault Duo Shatter MSU Records

EAST LANSING, Mich. - Freshmen pole vaulters Paul Terek and Katie Meyers each stamped their names into the Michigan State track and field record books in their first collegiate appearance, as the Spartans hosted the Michigan State Invitational.

Terek busted MSU's 29-year-old men's pole vault mark with an effort of 16' 9 ", as he outdistanced the record set by Roland Carter (16' 4") in 1968. Terek, a Livonia native, led a trio of Spartan freshmen who finished 1-2-3 in the pole vault.

"Paul is a very talented young man. We knew he had the talent to break the record - he was one of the top pole vaulters in the nation out of high school. It's only the beginning - he's going to jump higher," stated MSU men's head coach Darroll Gatson.

The men's side of the Michigan State Invitational featured a two-team battle between the Spartans and Western Michigan. A non-team scoring meet, it marked the season-opening contest for MSU.

Overshadowed by Terek's record was the performance of sophomore Okoineme Giwa-Agbomeirele, who took home three event victories. "Okie" won the long jump, becoming MSU's sixth-longest jumper in program history with a bound of 24' 0 ". He also won a tight 200-meter dash by .02 seconds, as he broke the tape in 22.59. Giwa-Agbomeirele seized his third event title in the closest race of the day, the 55-meter high hurdles, as he and WMU's Aaron Oaks finished in a dead heat for first with a time of 7.68 seconds.

"Okie's doing a great job. He's already a leader, as a sophomore. His attitude is better and he's ready to accept the challenge to become a good athlete," said Gatson.

Michigan State dominated the running events, as other Spartans stepped up to gain race victories. Junior Jason Coulter took the 800 meters, winning with a time of 1:58.14, while senior Octavis Long blew out the field in the 55-meter dash with a mark of 6.45 seconds. Newcomers Jeff Farrell, who won the 3,000 with a time of 8:21.81, and Ryan Taylor, who seized the title in the mile with a time of 4:17.22, also contributed to a strong Spartan effort.

On the women's side of the coin, Meyers broke MSU's pole vault mark with a performance of 8' 2 ". The old record of 7'3" was set during the 1997 campaign, the initial season pole vault was included as a women's event at MSU, by current Spartan Laren Molinari, who finished second at the Invitational with an identical mark of 7'3".

The Michigan State Invitational slate featured the women's teams from MSU, Western Michigan, Ferris State, and McComb CC. This also denoted the season-opening meet for the Michigan State women's squad.

A trio of Spartan seniors started off their final MSU campaign with event victories. Senior Lawanda Byrd looked strong, as she won the 55-meter hurdles with a time of 8.27 seconds. She also was runner-up in the 55-meter dash, hitting the finish line in 7.41 seconds. Karlene Kurtz seized the mile title, breaking the tape in 5:04.94. Also, Shermaine McKenzie grabbed the 400-meter title with a time of 58.52.

Former Michigan State All-American Stephanie Dueringer, running unattached, won the 3,000 meters by stopping the watch in 10:00.63. Spartan sophomore Leah Nilsson was the top collegiate runner, finishing second with a mark of 10:20.74.

Both the men's and women's squad now gear up for the Red Simmons Invitational, held Jan. 24 in Ann Arbor.