Jan. 9, 2014
EAST LANSING, Mich. - The Michigan State track and field program will officially kick off the 2014 indoor season as members of the team will travel to the GVSU Bob Eubanks Open on Friday. Held at the Kelly Family Sports Center, events are set to begin at 9 a.m.
“It’s the first meet of the year for us, so our primary objective is to get an assessment of where everyone is at,” said director of track & field/cross country Walt Drenth. “We will primarily be sending sprints, jumps and throwers. Hopefully, we’ve had a good break and people will be back ready to go. But with the weather and the short week, our expectations competitively would be, are we going to engage in the competition and then from a coaching standpoint, where are we at and how much work do we have to do? Indoor is a short season, so as coaches it gives us our first evaluation moving towards the conference meet.”
The MSU women finished the 2012-13 season ranked ninth nationally in the USTFCCCA NCAA Division I Program of the Year final standings that spans the cross county, indoor and outdoor seasons. It is the highest standing for the program since the awards inaugural year in 2009.
The Spartans will be led by members of the 4x400-meter relay team, Jelissa Westney, Jaelynn Pryor and Tori Franklin, which turned in a runner-up finish at the 2013 Big Ten Indoor Championships. Also, Leah O’Connor will return in the mile after earning her first indoor medal with a third-place finish at the conference meet, while Sara Kroll will be back in action after placing seventh in the 5,000-meter run. Ashley Stacey and Tori Franklin will lead the jumps group as they placed fifth and sixth, respectively, in the triple jump at the championship meet.
Looking to capitalize on an All-American 2013 campaign, Antonio James will lead the throws group after earning a silver medal with a school record-setting performance in the weight throw at the NCAA Indoor Championships. Jarred Gambrell will lead the jumps group after scoring seventh-place points for MSU in the triple jump. In the distance events, Caleb Rhynard will return for the Spartans in the 3,000-meter and David Madrigal will represent after leading MSU in the 5,000-meter run.
Michigan State will take a week off before traveling to the Notre Dame Invitational on Saturday, Jan. 25 in South Bend, Ind.