Feb. 28, 2013
EAST LANSING, Mich. – Members of the Michigan State track & field team will return to South Bend, Ind., for the third time this season to compete in the Notre Dame Alex Wilson Invitational. The event, held at the Loftus Sports Center, will serve as a “last chance” meet for the Spartans as they hope to qualify more athletes for the NCAA Indoor Championships in Fayetteville, Ark. Competition will begin on Friday, March 1 at 5 p.m. and will continue on Saturday, March 2 at 11 a.m.
Last Time Out
The Spartans had a strong showing at the 2013 Big Ten Indoor Track & Field Championships as the team earned a total of seven medals at the conference meet. Redshirt seniors Alysson Bodenbach, Beth Rohl and Lonnie Pugh each beat out the highly competitive field to become Big Ten Indoor individual Champions. It is the first time since 2011 that MSU has brought home three individual titles. With a total of five medals, the women fought back to finish in sixth place with 57 points, while the men compiled 29 points to place 11th overall.
Bodenbach won a gold medal in the 600-meter run with a personal-best time of 1:29.45. She 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. On the first day of competition, she also helped the MSU distance medley relay to a second-place finish with a time of 11:15.21.
Breaking his own school record, Pugh won a gold medal in the weight throw with a mark of 22.21m/ 72-10½. Not only was it Pugh's first Big Ten title, but also marks the first indoor weight throw title in MSU history and the first individual event title for the men since 2010. Earlier in the meet, he recovered in the shot put to score eighth-place points for the Spartans with a throw of 17.77m/ 58-3¾.
Winning her fifth title this season and second Big Ten Indoor title of her career, Rohl took the gold in the weight throw competition. Her school-record setting mark of 22.17m/ 72-9 to claim her first indoor weight throw title at the 2009 Big Ten Indoor Championships.
The Spartans have already rewritten the MSU record books during indoor competition. So far, four school records have been broken during the 2013 season.
• Leah O'Connor
Mile (4:38.39) - SPIRE Invitational
• Beth Rohl
Weight Throw (22.17m/ 72-9) - Big Ten Indoor Championships
• Amanda Impellizzeri
Pole Vault (4.05m/ 13-3½) - Notre Dame Invite
• Lonnie Pugh
Weight Throw (22.21m/ 72-10½) – Big Ten Indoor Championships
Climbing the Rankings
Seven members of the Michigan State track & field team currently rank nationally in the USTFCCA computer rankings.
The top-ranked Spartan for the women is Rohl who is third in the country in the weight throw with her school-record mark of 22.17m/ 72-9. In addition to O'Connor's 24th- ranked time of 4:38.74 in the mile, senior Amanda Impellizzeri is No. 30 in the pole vault with a mark of 4.05m/ 13-3½.
Redshirt junior Sara Kroll also sits in 30th with a time of 9:18.32 in the 3,000-meter run. Both the women’s 4x400-meter relay (3:36.34) and the distance medley relay (11:15.21) are ranked in the top-20 nationally at No. 13 and 15, respectively.
On the men's side, Pugh moved into third overall in the nation with his Big Ten winning mark of 22.21m/ 72-10½ in the weight throw. Also moving into the top-five in the weight throw is sophomore Antonio James who hit a mark of 22.14m 72-7¾ at Big Tens to win silver medal. Rounding out the Spartans in the individual events, Redshirt senior Josh McAlary is ranked 44th in the mile with a time of 4:00.52.
Also ranked nationally is the men’s distance medley relay at No. 18 with a time of 9:44.30.
After her win at Big Tens, Rohl was chosen Big Ten Indoor Field Athlete of the Year as announced by the conference office on Wednesday, Feb. 27. This marks the second Field Athlete of the Year recognition for Rohl, her first for the indoor season, as she received the award for the first time in the 2011 outdoor season.
Also recognized by the conference was Bodenbach and Pugh as MSU's Big Ten Sportsmanship Award recipients.
Earlier this season, the Michigan State women's track & field team swept the Big Ten weekly honors as O'Connor was named Track Athlete of the Week and Rohl was named Field Athlete of the Week, as announced by the conference office on Monday, Jan. 28.
O'Connor broke the facility, school and her personal record as she took home an individual win in the one-mile run with a time of 4:40.41 at the Michigan dual meet. Rohl received the Field Athlete of the Week honor from the Big Ten for the second-straight week. She broke her own school record in the weight throw, winning the event in the Michigan dual meet with a personal-best mark of 21.40m/ 70-2. She earned the third indoor track & field award of her career and second this season.
Several Spartans will compete against the top athletes in the country as they travel to Fayetteville, Ark.,for the 2013 NCAA Indoor Championships. Competition will be held at the Randal Tyson Track on March 8 and 9.