Track & Field
Track & Field Heads to Drake and Gina Relays
April 22, 2009
EAST LANSING, Mich. - After an impressive performance at the Indiana Invitational last weekend, the 2009 Michigan State track & field program will head to Des Moines, Iowa, this weekend for the 100th running of the Drake Relays, one of the most prestigious and well-renowned track & field events in the nation. The bulk of the events at the Drake Relays are scheduled to begin Friday at 9 a.m. ET and will resume Saturday at 9 a.m. as well. MSU will also send student-athletes, highlighted by a large contingent of throwers, to the Hillsdale College Gina Relays. Competition for the Spartans is slated to begin at noon on Friday and resume Saturday at noon as well.
The Drake Relays will feature a total of 7,392 athletes from around the world, 1,636 of which will represent the university level. The men's competition will have 861 student-athletes from 49 different universities, while the women will have 775 student-athletes from 53 universities in its competition. MSU will send six student-athletes along with the men's 4x100m and 4x400m relay teams to the two-day event. Individuals competing for the Spartans include three pole vaulters, Katie Shaw (Lakeview, Mich.) and Ashley Smith (Ceresco, Mich.) on the women's side, and Logan Lynch (Lambertville, Mich.) for the men. All three have posted regional qualifying times in the event this season.
Joining the pole vaulters in the jumps will be freshman Becca Buchholtz (East Troy, Wis.). Buchholtz is the defending Big Ten Indoor Champion in the high jump and she will be competing against one of the most competitive fields of her young career this weekend. In all, seven jumpers will represent the Big Ten in the field of 30 in the women's high jump, including the top three jumpers in the conference so far this season. Buchholtz currently sits in a tie for seventh in the league during the outdoor season with a leap of 1.70m (5-7) at the Indiana Invitational last weekend. Buchholtz won the Big Ten Indoor Title with a leap of 1.79m (5-10 1/2), the top mark in the conference during the indoor season.
Sophomore hurdler Shane Wells (Romulus, Mich.) will represent the Spartans in the 110m hurdles. Wells is one of 17 Spartans to qualify for regional competition, doing so in the 110m hurdles. Wells posted times of 14.28 and 14.23 in consecutive competitions to begin the outdoor season, becoming the first Spartan to qualify for regional action this season. Wells earned All-Big Ten honors in the 60m hurdles during the indoor season after finishing second at the Big Ten Indoor Championships. Multi-event specialist Cliff Miller (Ann Arbor, Mich.) will also compete at the Drake Relays. Miller will participate in the decathlon for the first time this season.
The Spartans will be well represented by throwers at the Gina Relays, highlighted by freshman Lonnie Pugh (Grosse Ile, Mich.). Pugh broke the school record in the discus at the Indiana Invitational last weekend, turning in a throw of 56.33m (184-10), breaking the previous school record by 3.80m (12-5). His mark also qualified him for NCAA Regional competition. Several other throwers that have posted regional qualifying marks will join Pugh at the Gina Relays this weekend, including Brad Wentzel (Allegan, Mich.), who posted qualifying marks in both the discus and shot put last weekend. Two hammer qualifiers Anthony Agrusa (St. Clair Shores, Mich.) and Kyle Strotbaum (Grand Rapids, Mich.), will also compete at the Gina Relays. Ashley Lawrence (Troy, Mich.) highlights the throwers on the women's side as she posted a regional qualifying mark of 14.52m (47-7 3/4) in the shot put last weekend.
The women will also have their top sprinters represented at the Gina Relays. Michlle Gay (Lakewood, Kan.) will compete in the 100m and 200m dashes while Coryn Marzejon (Huntley, Ill.) and Brittany Tolar (Evanston, Ill.) will run in the both the 200m and 400m dashes. The men will also be well-represented on the short track at the Gina Relays as both David Calille (Canton, Mich.) and Durant Crum (Albion, Mich.) will compete for the Spartans. Hurdler Jake Hamilton (Troy, Mich.) will run in the 400m hurdles for the Spartans as well.
For a complete recap of all of the action at both the Drake Relays and the Gina Relays this weekend, check back with www.msuspartans.com.
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