Track & Field
Spartan Track & Field Competes in Last Weekend of Regular Season
Feb. 21, 2014
EAST LANSING, Mich. - In the last weekend of regular season, the Michigan State track and field team will again split competition as the Spartans attempt to qualify for Nationals and prepare for the conference championships next weekend. MSU will send student-athletes to the Silverston Invitational in Ann Arbor, Mich., as well as the Alex Wilson Invitational in South Bend., Ind. Both meets will be held on Saturday, Feb. 22.
“What we’re trying to do by sending a handful of kids to Notre Dame and another group to Michigan is to just tune up,” said assistant coach Randy Gillon. “Some of the people competing have either missed a meet or two for one reason or another, they might be on the cusp of a breakthrough and just need another opportunity to get things in order and there are people who frankly are trying to figure out if they will be traveling to the Big Ten meet. It’s not a meet where you’re just going to take people to for the sake of; you want to bring people that are willing and able to contribute at a high level and bring something positive to the table. That’s what we’re looking for between those two meets.”
Last Time Out
Earning an individual win in the 3,000-meter for the second-straight meet, Rachele Schulist shaved a full 15 seconds off her time to set a new MSU and SPIRE Institute record with a time of 9:06.85. Setting a new school record in the 800-meter run, Aubrey Wilberding clocked a personal-best time of 2:06.95 to finish in third place overall. Breaking her own school record in the mile, Leah O’Connor was first to cross the finish line in a record-setting time of 4:37.74.
Winning her third-straight title in the event, Tori Franklin tied her own school record and broke the SPIRE Institute record with a personal-best mark of 13.39m/ 43-11¼. Ashley Stacey hit a career-best mark of 12.86m/ 42-2¼ for a runner-up finish and the fourth-best mark in the conference this season. Improving on his conference-leading time in the 60-meter dash, DeVantré Whitelow tied the school record as he was first to cross the finish line in 6.71. Antonio James earned his fourth win in the weight throw this season as he threw for a mark of 21.64m/71-0. In the pole vault, Codi Mattix earned first-place honors in the pole vault as he hit a season-best mark of 5.10m/ 16-8¾. Earning an individual win in the 200-meter dash, Alicia Evans posted a season-best time of 24.19.
MSU in the Rankings
Individually, Michigan State currently has four Spartans ranked in the top-10 in the nation. Antonio James owns the third-best mark in the weigh throw (22.74m/42-7¼) and sits at No. 9 in the shot put (19.55m/ 64-1¾). With the No. 4 mark in the nation is Tori Franklin in the triple jump (13.39m/ 43-11¼). Kurt Schneider holds the eighth-best mark in the heptathlon with 5,558 points, while Rachele Schulist broke into the top-10 rankings with her time of 9:06.85 in the 3,000-meter for 10th in the nation.
In the Big Ten rankings, the Spartans are among the top-five in the conference in a total of 16 events. DeVantré Whitelow (6.71) improved his top time in the 60-meter dash, holding the No. 1 spot for the sixth-straight week, while Franklin's triple jump mark also ranks at the top of the Big Ten. James’ mark in the shot put remains in first, Schneider’s heptathlon point total is also atop of the conference and Schulist record-breaking time catapulted her to first in the 3,000-meter.
Leah O’Connor improved her second-best mile (4:37.74) time, while Caleb Rhynard owns the No. 2 spot with his 3,000-meter time of 8:00.58. Sarah Birkmeier holds the third-best pole vault mark (4.06m/13-3¾) in the conference and James' also sits at No. 3 in the weight throw (22.74m/74-7¼).
Ashley Stacey and Jarred Gambrell moved into No. 4 in the triple jump with marks of 12.86m/42-2¼ and 15.43m/ 50-7½, respectively. Also moving into fourth was Aubrey Wilberding with her record-setting 800-meter time of 2:06.95, while Adeline Grier-Welch holds onto the fourth-best mark in the high jump (1.74m/5-8½).
Rounding out the Spartans who sit in fifth in the conference is Rhynard (mile; 4:03.28), Lindsay Clark (mile; 4:43.29), Sara Kroll (3,000m; 9:27.25), Schneider (high jump; 2.11m/6-11), Tim Ehrhardt (pole vault; 5.20m/17-¾) and Stacey (long jump; 6.08m/ 19-11½),
Schulist earned her first weekly conference honor after her breakout 3,000-meter performance at the SPIRE Invitational. Racing to an individual win for the second-straight meet, Schulist set a new MSU and SPIRE Institute record with a time of 9:06.85.
Franklin received the women’s field athlete recognition for the second week in-a-row after she tied her school record in the triple jump at the SPIRE Invitational. She posted the same exact mark of 13.39m/ 43-11¼ to break the SPIRE Institute record and win her third-straight title in the event this season. In the conference, Franklin sits an entire foot and three inches ahead of second-ranked Cierra Brown from Purdue.
Receiving her third weekly conference laurel of her career, Franklin was also named the Big Ten Field Athlete of the Week on Feb. 10. Her record-breaking mark in the triple jump (13.39m/43-11¼) at the Meyo Invite moved her into first in the Big Ten and third in the nation.
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