Jan. 24, 1998

Octavis Long Flashes Speed at Red Simmons Invitational

EAST LANSING, Mich. - Michigan State senior Octavis Long seized the 55-meter title during the Red Simmons Invitational in Ann Arbor on Saturday, scorching the field by breaking the tape in the finals in 6.31 seconds.

Long was the lone Spartan individual victor, as both the men's and women's squads competed at the non-team scoring event, which featured seven Division I schools from around the Midwest. Long got progressively faster as the meet went on, as he won his initial 55-meter heat with a mark of 6.48 seconds. He then went on to cross the finish line first in the semi-finals with a time of 6.37 seconds. Long then went on to grab the event title in the finals by stopping the watch in 6.31 seconds, a tenth of a second ahead of the runner-up, former MSU All-American Brad Fields.

Other standouts from the men's side of the coin including the freshmen pole-vaulting trio of Jake Diner, Paul Terek and Matt Deering. Terek, who set the MSU record in the pole vault a week ago, finished third with a mark of 16' 6", just behind Diner, who took second with an identical mark of 16' 6". Deering took seventh with a 15' 0" performance.

Continuing their two-year long jump battle were Western Michigan's Aaron Oaks and MSU's Okoineme Giwa-Agbomeirele, as Oaks won the long jump with a leap of 24' 5.5". Giwa-Agbomeirele, who defeated Oaks last week at the Michigan State Invitational, finished second with a bound of 24' 3.5". Other solid performances were turned in by sophomore Joe Leo (3rd, 4:14.98) and junior Mark Goodfellow (4th, 4:16.19) in the mile, as well as sophomore Matt Lafave in the 3,000-meters (3rd, 8:41.94)

The women's meet featured only one Spartan victory as well, as the MSU distance medley relay squad notched a first-place time of 12:22.66. MSU's individual performances were solid, led off by senior Lawanda Byrd, who grabbed third place in the 55-meter hurdles with time of 8.03 seconds. Byrd pulled double-duty, which included the 200-meter dash, placing seventh in 26.10.

MSU's 800-meter squad also turned in a strong performance, grabbing four out the top seven slots in the standings. Senior Karlene Kurtz sported the best Spartan time of 2:18.80, taking 3rd place. Fellow senior Karyn Duba finished on her heels in second with a mark of 2:20.08. Senior Becky Caldwell (2:23.77) and sophomore Sarah Parbel (2:24.47) rounded out the top seven, placing fifth and seventh, respectively.

Other Spartan standouts also included sophomore Nicole McMillan, who won her heat, tenth overall, in the 600-meter dash (1:42.01). Junior Heidi Jackson notched a fifth-place finish in the triple jump, leaping 34' 5".