April 23, 2014
EAST LANSING, Mich. - Michigan State track & field redshirt junior Leah O’Connor was named Big Ten Track Athlete of the Week, as announced by the conference office on Wednesday. She earns her first weekly outdoor conference honor of her career, and becomes the first female outdoor honoree since Nicole Bush on May 6, 2009.
A Croswell, Mich., native, O'Connor shaved nearly 10 seconds off her personal record in her first 3,000-meter steeplechase of the season at the Larry Ellis Invitational on Friday. She set a new career-best time of 9:44.35 to finish fourth overall. Her time leads the Big Ten by over ten seconds, and is currently the second-best time in the NCAA. It is also just five seconds away from Nicole Bush’s school-record time of 9:39.38 set in 2009.
The two-time defending Big Ten steeplechase champion (2012 and 2013), O’Connor will look to win her third-straight title this season. She has twice earned First-Team All-Big Ten honors, and received First-Team All-American honors after placing fifth overall at the NCAA Championships in 2013.
O’Connor and the Spartans will have a busy weekend ahead as MSU will be represented at the Drake Relays (Des Moines, Iowa), the GINA Relays (Hillsdale, Mich.) and the Ashland Alumni Open (Ashland, Ohio).