Feb. 22, 2012
CHAMPIONSHIPS CENTRAL | LIVE RESULTS | FLOTRACK COVERAGE
EAST LANSING, MICH. - Michigan State hopes to bring a fourth Big Ten title back to East Lansing by sending fifty-eight athletes to Lincoln, Nebraska, for the Big Ten Indoor Championships.
The events, which will be held at the University of Nebraska at the Bob Devaney Sports Center, are slated to start on Friday, February 24th and Saturday, February 25th with both days of competition beginning at 10 a.m.
The Spartans feature a women's squad who have been ranked as high as 23rd in the USTFCCCA NCAA Division I National Team Computer Rankings. They have proved to be one of the most competitive programs in the nation at nearly every event and feature several school-record holders in events ranging from the high jump to the 3000 meters. The men's side has seen great performances primarily in the throwing events, with four athletes in the NCAA Top 25 at the weight throw and shot put.
Expect a solid performance from three-time Big Ten Champion Becca Buccholtz (East Troy, Wis./East Troy), who is ranked as the nation's fifth-best in the high jump. At the Notre Dame Invitational, Buchholtz broke her own school-record with a leap of 6-0 (1.83m). She is currently tied for first place in the Big Ten, sharing the top spot with Monika Jakutyte of Wisconsin.
Freshman Tori Franklin (Westmont, Ill./Downers Grove South) is a heavy favorite in triple jump, breaking Michigan State's indoor record in only her first season with the program. Her jump of 13.05m (42-9 ¾) at the Spire Invitational topped Sherita Williams' record of 13.04m (42-9 ½) which was set in 2004. She currently leads the Big Ten and is ranked 5th in the NCAA in the event.
Kurt Schneider (Lake Orion, Mich./Oakland Christian) and Kevin Jackson (Detroit, Mich./Martin Luther King), who were both NCAA qualifiers a year ago, will lead the men in the high jump. Schneider is ranked fifth in the Big Ten with a jump of 2.14m (7-0 ¼) while Jackson has a career-best mark of 2.13m (6-11 ¾) which he achieved at the Meyo Invitational earlier this season. He currently is the Big Ten's eighth-ranked high jumper.
Codi Mattix (Saranac, Mich./Saranac) and Amanda Impellizzeri (Kentwood, Mich./East Kentwood) are Michigan State's top competitors in the pole vault. Mattix, who finished fifth in the Big Ten Indoor Championships last season, will look to improve on his mark of 16-11 which he set at the Notre Dame Invitational this year. Impellizeri hopes to better her personal-best 12-9 ½ effort which she set at the GVSU Bob Eubanks Open.
In the long jump, Ashley Stacey (Riverdale, Ill./Thornton Township) currently owns the school record with a mark of 20-9. Her personal best in 2012 is an effort of 19-6 ¼ - which is good for sixth in the Big Ten. Stacey was a Pan American Junior Championships Silver Medalist and NCAA East Preliminary Round Qualifier in 2011.
Redshirt Junior Alysson Bodenbach (Clinton Township, Mich./Chippewa Valley) and freshman Brittany Lewis (Lambton Shores, Ont./St. Clair Secondary) will lead the women in sprinting events.
Bodenbach has had a breakout indoor season in 2012, with personal bests in the 400, 600, and 800-meter events. Her 400-meter time of 54.27 at last week's Silverston Invitational ranks her 16th in the NCAA and second overall in the conference.
Ontario native Brittany Lewis has had a spectacular collegiate debut for the green and white. Lewis owns the school-record in the 500 meters (1:12.85) and broke the Canadian Junior Women's record in the 600 meters with a time of 1:29.96. The time also ranks her first in the NCAA in that event.
Bodenbach and Lewis are also members of the 4x400 relay team along with Amelia Bannister (Concord, Mich./Albion), and Jaelynn Pryor (Jackson, Mich./Jackson). The relay team broke the school's 29-year old indoor record at the Indiana Relays on January 28th with a mark of 3:39.79.
Bannister should also be competitive in the 800 meters, as she is currently ranked sixth in the Big Ten with a time of 2:09:50.
Senior Leslie Aririguzo, who originally transferred from Virginia Tech, has been one of Michigan State's top hurdlers in the past year. She owns a personal best of 8.39 in the 60-meter hurdles which she set at last year's Big Ten Indoor Championships and is currently ranked sixth in the Big Ten in that event in 2012.
For the men, look for freshman DeVantré Whitelow (Centralia, Ill./Centralia) to make an impact in the 60-meter or 200-meter dash. Whitelow had a personal-best in the 60 meters last weekend at the Silverston Invitational in Ann Arbor with a time of 6.80.
Beth Rohl, who was the Big Ten Field Athlete of the Year and a U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association Indoor First-Team All-American last year, finished second at the 2011 Indoor Championships. She topped her previous school record in the weight throw this season with an effort of 67-8 ¼ (20.63m) at the Indiana Relays. Rohl ranks third in the Big Ten, 12th in the NCAA.
The men will have a strong presence in both throwing events, beginning with Jay Gillespie (Allen Park, Mich./Allen Park) who is ranked 11th in the nation and 4th in the Big Ten in the weight throw. Gillespie is currently the record holder with a toss of 69-11 ½ (21.32m) which he set at the Findlay Open.
His teammate, Zack Hill (Zeeland, Mich./Allendale), is one of the Big Ten's best in the shot put. He is currently fourth in the conference with his personal-best coming last weekend at the Silverston Invitational (61-7 ½ /18.78m).
Expect Michigan State to have the strongest performance in the women's 3000 meters, where Sara Kroll (Westland, Mich./Livonia Churchill) and Carlie Green (Milford, Mich./Milford ) have the first and sixth best times in the conference this year.
Kroll, who redshirted last season, became MSU's indoor record-holder in the 3000 meters at the Spire Invitational, running a time of 9:12.25. Kroll is also the team's top competitor in the mile, with a personal best 4:44:25.
Green's personal best in the 3000 meters is 9:25:71, which she set in a third-place finish at the Meyo Invitational in early February.
Redshirt Sophomore Ben Miller (Brooklyn, Mich./De La Salle Collegiate ) and Redshirt Junior Josh McAlary will pace the men's distance team. Miller broke the school's indoor record in the 1000 meters earlier this year with a time of 2:23.89. The previous indoor record for Michigan State was held by Mike White in 1981 when he ran 2:24.14.
McAlary is the Spartan's best miler. His time of 4:04:50 at the Spire Invitational ranks him tenth in the Big Ten.
Mid-distance events will be handled by Muhammad Sani (Detroit, Mich./Ann Arbor Pioneer ) and freshman Austin Wissler (Marquette, Mich./Marquette). Both runners had personal-best times in the 800 meters at the Spire Invitational, with Sani at 1:50.60 and Wissler at 1:51:33.