Feb. 27, 2014
EAST LANSING, Mich. - After a successful regular season, the Michigan State track & field team is ready to take on conference foes at the 2014 Big Ten Indoor Track & Field Championships. The meet will be held at the SPIRE Institute in Geneva, Ohio, the site where the Spartans set five school records earlier this month.
The Big Ten Network will air tape-delay coverage of the Big Ten Men’s & Women’s Indoor Track & Field Championships at 10:30 a.m. ET on Saturday, March 8.
Big Ten Indoor Championship History
The Michigan State men have won three indoor conference titles in 1966, 1972 and 1999. Overall, the Spartans boast 159 Big Ten individual champions, including 111 men and 48 women.
At the 2013 Big Ten Indoor Championships, the Spartans took home seven medals including three individual event titles.
The MSU women were highlighted on the track by redshirt senior Alysson Bodenbach, who won a gold medal in the 600-meter run with a personal-best time of 1:29.45. It marked the first time MSU had won a Big Ten title in the event since Christine Duverge won the gold in 1991.Bodenbach followed up her winning run by anchoring the 4x400-meter relay that scored second-place points for the Spartans. The silver-medal winning team of sophomore Jellisa Westney, sophomore Tori Franklin, sophomore Jaelynn Pryor and Bodenbach broke the school and previous SPIRE institute record with a time of 3:36.34.
The distance medley relay saw an exciting rally from Leah O'Connor who came from behind in the last leg to lead the team to a second-place finish. The team of redshirt senior Rachel McFarlane, Alysson Bodenbach, Lauren Lampman and O'Connor clocked a time of 11:15.21 to earn a silver medal and points for MSU. O'Connor earned her first individual Big Ten Indoor medal of her career as she placed third overall in the mile with a time of 4:42.04.
Winning second Big Ten Indoor title of her career, redshirt senior Beth Rohl took the gold in the weigh throw competition with her school-record setting mark of 22.17m/ 72-9, good for third in the nation.
On the men’s side, MSU gave the conference competition a one-two punch in the weight throw as the Spartans earned first and second-place points in the event. Redshirt senior Lonnie Pugh broke a Michigan State and SPIRE institute record in the weight throw with a personal-best mark of 22.21m/ 72-10½. Not only was it Pugh's first Big Ten title, but also marked the first indoor weight throw title in MSU history and the first individual event title for the men since 2010. Earning a silver medal was then-redshirt sophomore Antonio James with his career-best throw of 22.14m/ 72-7¾.
Last Time Out
The Spartans competed in their last weekend of competition of the regular season on Saturday at both the Silverston Invitational in Ann Arbor, Mich., and the Alex Wilson Invitational in South Bend, Ind. Antonio James led the Spartans at the Silverston Invite with two event wins, while the MSU sprinters turned in a win and three career-best performances at the Alex Wilson Invite.
Earning his fifth individual weight throw win of the season, Antonio James posted a first-place mark of 21.03m/ 69-0 at the Silverston Invite. He also took first-place honors in the shot put for the third time this season as he posted a mark of 18.79m/ 61-7¾. With an individual win in the pole vault, Tim Canfield hit a personal-best mark of 4.77m/15-7¾.
Meanwhile, at the Alex Wilson Invite, Jelissa Westney earned an individual win in the 200-meter dash, posting a season-best time of 24.24 for first-place honors. With a career-best time of 7.55 in the finals of the 60-meter dash, she placed fourth overall in the event. In the 60-meter hurdles, Lauren Rose qualified for the finals and tied her season-best time of 8.52 to finish third.
Big Ten Performance List
Heading into the 2014 Big Ten Indoor Championships, the Spartans have XX student-athletes that rank in the top-eight of the conference.
#1 - Antonio James - Shot Put - 19.55m/ 64-1¾ (Meyo Invite)
#1 - Kurt Schneider - heptathlon - 5,558 pts (Akron Invite)
#1 - DeVantré Whitelow - 60-meter dash - 6.71(SPIRE Invite)
#3 - Caleb Rhynard - 3,000-meter - 8:00.58 (Meyo Invite)
#4 - Antonio James - Weight Throw - 22.74m/ 74-7¼ (Notre Dame Invite)
#4 - Jarred Gambrell - triple jump - 15.43m/ 50-7½ (SPIRE Invite)
#5 - Kurt Schneider - high jump - 2.11m/ 6-11 (Akron Invite)
#6 - Tim Ehrhardt - pole vault - 5.20m/ 17-0¾ (Meyo Invite)
#1 - Tori Franklin - Triple Jump - 13.39m/ 43-11¼ (Meyo Invite)
#1 - Rachele Schulist - 3,000-meter - 9:06.85 (SPIRE Invite)
#2 - Leah O’Connor - mile - 4:37.74 (SPIRE Invite)
#3 - Aubrey Wilberding - 800-meter - 2:06.95 (SPIRE Invite)
#4 - Sarah Birkmeier - pole vault - 4.06m/ 13-3¾ (Meyo Invite)
#4 - Ashley Stacey - Triple Jump - 12.86m/ 42-2¼ (SPIRE Invite)
#5 - Lindsay Clark - 3,000-meter - 9:28.73 (Meyo Invite)
#5 - Ashley Stacey - Long Jump - 6.08m/ 19-11½ (Notre Dame Invite)
#6 - Adeline Greier-Welch - high jump - 1.74m/ 5-8½ (Notre Dame Invite)
#8 - 4x400-meter relay - 3:43.59 (Notre Dame Invite)
Qualifying Standards for NCAA Championships
For the third-straight season, there are no qualifying standards for the championships season. Qualification to the championships is based on descending-order list for the season. For each individual event, the fields will first be filled with the top-16 student-athletes who declare for their events with automatic status. The remainder of the field will be filled by the highest-remaining ranked performances. For each relay event contested, the top-12 declared relay teams will be accepted into the competition.
Climbing the Rankings
In the Great Lakes region, the Spartan women remain at No. 3, while the men hold onto ninth in the latest USTFCCCA NCAA Division I Regional Index.
Individually, Michigan State currently has five Spartans ranked in the top-16 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 ranks 10th with her time of 9:06.85 in the 3,000-meter. Rounding out the Spartans is Leah O’Connor, who sits at 15th in the mile with a time of 4:37.74.
The Spartans have rewritten the MSU record books during indoor competition as seven school records have been broken or tied so far in the 2014 season.
- Sarah Birkmeier
Pole Vault (4.06m/ 13-3¾) - Meyo Invite
- Antonio James
Shot Put (19.55m/ 64-1¾) - Meyo Invite
- Tori Franklin
Triple Jump (13.39m/ 43-11¼) - Meyo and SPIRE Invite
- Leah O’Connor
Mile (4:37.74) - SPIRE Invite
- Rachele Schulist
3,000-meter (9:06.85) - SPIRE Invite
- DeVantré Whitelow
60-meter dash (6.71) - SPIRE Invite
- Aubrey Wilberding
800-meter run (2:06.95) - SPIRE Invite
The Michigan State women's track & field team swept the Big Ten weekly honors as Rachele Schulist was named Co-Track Athlete of the Week and Tori Franklin earned her second-straight Field Athlete of the Week recognition Monday, Feb. 17.
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.
The Spartans will take a week off to train before traveling to the NCAA Indoor Championship in Albuquerque, N.M., on Friday, March 14 and Saturday, March 15.