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Spartan Track & Field Gears Up for GVSU Last Chance Weekend

Melanie Brender and the Spartan women are ranked No. 1 in the Great Lakes Region with one week to go before the conference meet.

May 8, 2014

Live Results

Friday Schedule of Events | Saturday Schedule of Events

EAST LANSING, Michigan - In preparation for the Big Ten Championships next weekend, the Michigan State track & field team will be competing sparingly this weekend at the Last Chance meet hosted by Grand Valley State University. Members of the team will look for NCAA East Regional qualifying marks, or to earn a spot on the conference meet roster. The Spartans will compete in GVSU’s Second to Last Chance meet on Friday beginning at 1 p.m., followed by the Last Chance meet on Saturday at 11 a.m.

Last Time Out
Led by two new school records and 11 event wins, the Spartans had a successful outing at the Dave Rankin Invitational at Purdue University on Saturday.

The Spartan women dominated the 1,500-meter, taking home first through third place. Redshirt junior Leah O’Connor led the way, breaking the MSU record with a time of 4:16.40 to win the event. It is currently the sixth-best time in the nation. Redshirt junior Sara Kroll turned in a runner up finish with a time of 4:27.66, while redshirt freshman Rachele Schulist clocked a time of 4:28.01 to place third. In the men’s race, redshirt sophomore Caleb Rhynard turned in a runner-up finish with a time of 3:51.62.

Setting a new school record in the pole vault, redshirt sophomore Lauren Chorny took first-place honors with a record-setting mark of 4.12m/ 13-6¼. In the men’s competition, freshman Tim Ehrhardt finished first with a season-best mark of 5.10m/ 16-8¾, while freshman Tim Canfield tied his season high of 5.00m/ 16-4¾ to place second. With an individual win in the triple jump, junior Tori Franklin improved her season-best mark to 12.92m/ 42-4¾. Redshirt senior Kurt Schneider and junior Owen Hughes finished first and second, respectively, in the high jump. Schneider tied his season-best mark of 2.10m/ 6-10¾, while Hughes posted a height of 2.05m/6-8¾.



Earning two wins in the meet, redshirt junior Antonio James finished first in the discus with a throw of 59.58m/ 195-6 and followed up with an outdoor-best mark of 19.35m/ 63-6 to take first place in the shot put.

In the men’s 100-meter dash, junior Ross Parsons was first to cross the finish line in 10.72. Junior Jellisa Westney also took first place in the women’s 100-meter finals, clocking a time of 11.76.

Redshirt junior Alex Wilson (14:41.19) and redshirt freshman Garret Zuk (14:42.52) gave the competition a one-two punch in the men’s 5,000-meter run, taking first and second, respectively.

The Spartan relays improved across the board as the men took first-place honors and posted a season-best in the 4x400-meter relay, as the team of junior DeVantre Whitelow, Parsons, David Washington and sophomore Austin Sanders clocked a time of 3:10.47. Tying their season-best in the 4x100-meter relay, the team of Westney and juniors Alicia Evans, TeJuanna Williams and Lauren Rose clocked a time of 45.32 to place second. Shaving two seconds off their season-best time in the 4x400-meter relay, the team of Westney, Evans, Franklin and Ashley Stacey also turned in a runner-up finish with a time of 3:41.73.

Qualifying for the NCAA Preliminary Championships
Qualification to NCAA Preliminary Championship Competition is based on the descending order list for the season, segregated by east and west sites, and prepared solely from the mandatory submission of meet results during the season. For each individual event contested at each Preliminary Championship Competition, the top-48 declared student-athletes will be accepted into the competition. For each relay event contested at each Preliminary Championship Competition, the top-24 declared relay teams will be accepted into the competition.

Climbing the Rankings
In the latest USTFCCCA national rankings, the Spartan women improved to No. 44 in the NCAA. Regionally, Michigan State improved to the No. 1 spot in the Great Lakes on the women’s side and the Spartan men are 10th. Below are the individual Spartans on their mark to earning a spot at the NCAA East Regional Championships:

Name Rank (B1G/East/NCAA) Event Mark/Time
Sarah Birkmeier 4th/12th/23rd Pole Vault 4.15m/13-7.25
Melanie Brender 3rd/29th/56th 10,000m 34:32.10
Ben Carruthers 5th/24th/60th 10,000m 29:30.99
Lauren Chorny 6th/18th/34th Pole Vault 4.12m/13-6.25

Lindsay Clark

6th/30th/58th 5,000m 16:09.93
Chris Collier 10th/34th/69th 3,000m Steeplechase 8:59.48
Tim Ehrhardt 11th/31st/82nd Pole Vault 5.10m/16-8.75
Alicia Evans 2nd/15th/32nd 200m 23.32
Kaylee Finney 2nd/24th/64th Discus 50.70m/166-4
Tori Franklin 2nd/12th/18th Triple Jump 12.92m/42-4.75
Jarred Gambrell 6th/31st/57th Triple Jump 15.24m/50-0
Vincens Gjokaj 13th/42nd/86th Discus 53.46m/175-5
Antonio James 3rd/7th/13th Discus 60.15m/197-4
2nd/9th/14th Shot Put 19.35m/63-6
5th/13th/22nd Hammer Throw 64.51m/211-8
Connor Kostrzewa 11th/43rd/88th Hammer Throw 59.76m/196-1
Sara Kroll 9th/45th/82nd 5,000m 16:20.51
Katie Landwehr 4th/10th/17th 3,000m Steeplechase 10:09.87
Ben Miller 12th/44th/95th 3,000m Steeplechase 9:03.92
Leah O'Connor 1st/2nd/3rd 3,000m Steeplechase 9:44.35
2nd/7th/11th 1,500m 4:16.40
Julia Otwell 6th/31st/43rd 5,000m 16:10.95
7th/37th/60th 1,500m 4:22.26
Kassie Powell 8th/28th/53rd Pole Vault 4.00m/13-1.50
Caleb Rhynard 4th/9th/30th 5,000m 13:49.60
Lauren Rose 7th/41st/72nd 100m hurdles 13.63
Kurt Schneider 7th/30th/68th High Jump 2.10m/6-10.75
Rachele Schulist 3rd/26th/51st 5,000m 16:08.36
Ashley Stacey 3rd/17th/27th Triple Jump 12.80m/42-0
7th/42nd/65th Long Jump 6.07m/19-11
David Washington 15th/47th/109th 400m Hurdles 52.62
Jellisa Westney 4th/34th/69th 200m 23.58
Alexis Wiersma 8th/42nd/76th 5,000m 16:18.85

Record-Breaking Spartans
In just the first meet of the season at the Raleigh Relays, the Spartans set two outdoor school records. Shattering the 5,000-meter record by nearly six seconds, Caleb Rhynard crossed the finish line in 13:49.60 to break a 37 year-old MSU record set by All-American Herb Lindsey in 1977 (13:55.20).

Also breaking the hammer throw record at the Raleigh Relays was Antonio James, hitting a mark of 64.51m/ 211-8 to place second overall. James followed up by breaking his own school record in the discus, breaking the 60-meter barrier and the Ashland facility record by hitting a mark of 60.15m/197-4 to win first-place honors.

Redshirt junior Leah O’Connor led the way as the Spartan women dominated the 1,500-meter, taking home first through third place at the Dave Rankin Invite. She broke the MSU record with a time of 4:16.40 to win the event. It is currently the sixth-best time in the nation.

Setting a new school record in the pole vault at the Dave Rankin Invite, redshirt sophomore Lauren Chorny took first-place honors with a record-setting mark of 4.12m/ 13-6¼.

Academic Honors
Five members of the MSU track & field team were recognized at the 2014 Spartan Academic Excellence Gala on April 14. Antonio James won with the Multicultural Award, presented to the student-athlete who promotes inclusion as well as exhibits strong leadership in the areas of community service and diversity. Also honored were the male and female Scholar-Athlete Award recipients, who have reached at least junior academic status, received a minimum of one varsity letter and own the highest cumulative GPA on the team. Ryan Haag and Julia Otwell were the winners from the track & field team, while Caleb Rhynard and Emma Drenth won the award for the cross country teams.

Conference Honors
Kicking off the outdoor season with an all-around great performance, Ashley Stacey was named Big Ten Field Athlete of the Week, as announced by the conference office on April 2. It marked her first weekly outdoor conference honor of her career. The Riverdale, Ill., native won the triple jump competition for the fourth time in her MSU career. The current MSU record holder in the long jump, Stacey finished third overall in the event. She also ran a career-best time in the 100-meter dash of 12.29 and anchored the 4x100-meter relay that finished fifth with a time of 46.18.

Junior Leah O’Connor earned Big Ten Track Athlete of the Week, from the conference office on April 23. It marks the first weekly outdoor conference honor of her career, and she becomes the first female outdoor honoree since Nicole Bush on May 6, 2009. 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 last Friday, setting 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.

Next Up
The Spartans will compete against conference foes next weekend at the 2014 Big Ten Outdoor Championships hosted by Purdue University in West Lafayette, Ind., on May 16-18.

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