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LEXINGTON, Ky. - Michigan State track & field returns to action for the East Preliminary Round in Lexington, Kentucky May 25-27 at the UK Outdoor Track and Field Complex. The Spartans have a total of 21 entries in the East Preliminaries. On the women’s side, 11 different athletes will compete in 12 events with junior Katelyn Daniels, competing in both the discus and the shot put. On the men’s side, nine athletes will participate with sophomore Justine Kiprotich earning the sixth seed in the 1,500m after capturing the Big Ten title.
“I think we have good quality. We have some nice youth represented. I think that we have a great chance for a number of them to advance to the finals in Eugene. It is going to be fun. We have people in a lot of events. We have hurdles and field events and some good distance runners. We are representing a lot of groups. I am expecting great things out of the pole vaulters and Katelyn Daniels is one of the best combined throwers in the country, ” said Director of Track & Field and Cross Country Walt Drenth.
The meet opens at 11:30 a.m. on Thursday with the women’s hammer throw. The Spartans will begin action with Max Knoblock in the men’s javelin at 12 p.m. The evening running events will begin with the first round of the women’s 400m hurdles at 4:30 p.m.
Friday’s slate begins with the field events, starting with the women’s discus at 2 p.m. Running events will start at 4:30 p.m. with the women’s 100m hurdles.
The third and final day of action starts at 2 p.m. with the first round of the men’s discus. The busy day of running events starts with the women’s 4X100m relay at 6 p.m. and will end with the men’s 4x400m relay at 9:45 p.m.
1 | EXPERIENCED PERFORMERS
Michigan State will rely on a very experienced group at the East Preliminary Round. Senior Hannah Sailar will be competing in the her fourth-straight East Prelim in the pole vault. Junior Katelyn Daniels will see action in both the discus and the shot put this season. The All-American has advanced to the East Prelims three-straight seasons.
2 | THE DISTANCE SQUAD
Michigan State continues its long-standing tradition of excellence in distance running. The Spartans have four women running in the 10,000, which will be run on Thursday, May 25. Freshman Amber Way is seeded 15th, while senior Alexis Wiersma is seeded 17th. Sophomore Kelsie Schwartz is seeded 33rd, while sophomore Jessica Goethals is seeded 41st in the 10,000m. Freshman Karrigan Smith will run the 3,000m steeplechase, while fellow freshman Jeralyn Poe will compete in the 5,000m.
“They’re excited. It’s a pretty young group when you think about it. This is the first time we’ve had four in that event. Jess, Amber Way and Kelsie Schwartz have never ran the 10k until this season, and they did a great job of advancing for the first round. And they have a great mentor in Alexis. She’s gone through the paces, she’s qualified in multiple events, been an NCAA Finalist and an All-American so they have some nice leadership there to go with it. We’ve got people in front of them in every event from both genders so it will be fun ,” Drenth said.
3 | YOUTH STEPPING UP
The 2017 Spartans are solid mix of youth and experience. MSU will be counting on the young guns at this year’s East Preliminary Round. On the women’s side, freshman Karrigan Smith is seeded 28th in the steeplechase (10:21.51). Freshman Dillon McClintock is seeded 20th in the 800m (2:06.10). Distance runners Amber Way and Jeralyn Poe have had solid freshmen campaigns. On the men’s side, freshman Noah Burton is looking to have a breakout performance in the 400m, hurdles.
4 | KIPROTICH COMING INTO HIS OWN
Sophomore Justine Kiprotich had a stellar Big Ten Outdoor Championship, capturing the gold medal in the 1,500m with a time of 3:48.72. He was just shy of his personal best time of 3:42.36 at the Virginia Challenge in April. The sophomore was a runner-up last season. The sophomore enters the East Preliminary Round as the sixth seed in the 1,500m.
“I think that he’s a more calm athlete. I think that one of the things that Justine’s done in terms of us seeing his emergence as you say is just his consistency in training. He’s behaving more like an upperclassman and someone who understands what it takes to be successful at this level. The Big Ten Championship was, to him, a little bit of a validation, and I think that we’ve seen a pretty confident athlete since then. Not unnecessarily confident, but confident enough to say ‘All right I think I can go in there and mix it up with these guys and have a chance to make it to Eugene’,” Drenth said.
5 | AROUND THE TRACK
Junior All-American Tim Ehrhardt has already punched his ticket to Eugene in the decathlon. At the East Prelims, Ehrhardt will be competing in the long jump. He is currently seeded 43rd in the long jump (7.46m). The junior is returning to action after missing all of the 2015-16 season.
Fellow junior Noah Gary is the 10th seed in the pole vault. He set a collegiate best with a vault of 5.35m en route to capturing the Virginia Challenge title. He finished fourth at the Big Ten Championships in the pole vault (5.21m).