MSU Sends Most To NCAA Track & Field Championships Since 1983
12 Spartans to represent Michigan State on national stage.
June 3, 2013
WATCH: Track & Field Preview
EAST LANSING, Mich. - Michigan State will send a total of 12 members of the track and field team to compete at the NCAA Track and Field Championships, the most MSU has advanced since 1983. The meet will be hosted by the University of Oregon at the historic Hayward Field in Eugene, Ore. Competition is scheduled to begin on Wednesday, June 5 and continue through Saturday, June 8.
Hayward Field has played host to four Olympic Trials, 10 NCAA Championships and eight USA Championships - the most of any venue in recent history in each category.
Spartan NCAA Qualifiers
For the women, eight individuals advanced to the final round of the NCAA Championships. Redshirt senior Beth Rohl will enter her fourth and final national championship competition as the Big Ten discus champion. Rohl is seeded 12th in the event as she finished fourth overall at the regional meet with a mark of 53.02m/ 173-11. She also finished fourth overall in the event at 2012 NCAA Championships, posting a school-record mark of 56.85m/ 186-6.
Also highlighting the women will be redshirt sophomore Leah O’Connor who was a two-time gold medalist at the 2013 Big Ten Championships. She enters the national competition for the second-straight year seeded seventh in the 3,000-meter steeplechase with a time of 9:53.53. O’Connor will look to revenge her 2012 national championship competition as she suffered an injury in the finals of the event.
Building off a win at the NCAA regional meet in the triple jump with a mark of 13.36m/ 43-10 will be sophomore Tori Franklin. She enters the championships seeded fourth in the country with a school record-setting mark of 13.41m/ 44-0 from the Drake Relays. Franklin, who advanced to the championships in 2012, finished 12th overall in her first national meet.
The first Spartan 4x400-meter relay to advance to the NCAA Championships since 1985, the MSU women’s team qualified with a season-best time of 3:36.39. The team of sophomore Jellisa Westney, Alicia Evans, Jaelynn Pryor and redshirt senior Alysson Bodenbach will enter the national meet seeded 24th.
Redshirt sophomore Sarah Birkmeier qualified for her first trip to the NCAA Championships in the pole vault after qualifying with a personal record mark of 4.10m/ 13-5¼ at the regional meet. Birkmeier, who placed fourth in the event at the Big Ten Championships, is seeded 17th in the event.
The men qualified four individuals to compete at the national championships. Redshirt senior Lonnie Pugh will make his fourth and final trip to the national championship meet. He is seeded 22nd in the discus after qualifying mark of 55.29m/ 181-4 to place ninth overall at the NCAA East Prelims. In 2012, Pugh finished 11th at the national meet, recording a mark of 57.24m/ 187-9.
Also returning to the national championships will be seventh-seeded redshirt sophomore Antonio James who took home a gold medal in the discus at the Big Ten Championship. James qualified with a fourth-place mark of 57.94m/ 190-1 at the regional meet. He placed 19th overall at the 2012 NCAA Championships with a mark of 54.11m / 177-6.
Redshirt senior Keenan Michael will return to the NCAA Championships as he competed at the national meet his freshman year. He qualified at the regional meet by winning both the first round and quarterfinal heats of the 400-meter hurdles. He is seeded 16th in the event, recording a time of 51.33 in the quarterfinal heat to automatically advance. At the 2010 NCAA Championships, he placed 22nd in the prelims with a time of 54.56.
Seeded 14th overall in the 5,000-meter run, redshirt freshman Caleb Rhynard makes his debut at the national meet. He posted a time of 14:04.47 at the NCAA East preliminary round to qualify as one of only three freshman to advance in the event.
Spartans’ Schedule of Events (all times Eastern)
Wednesday, June 5:
- Men’s 400m hurdles semifinal 9:15 p.m.
Thursday, June 6:
- Women’s discus at 5 p.m.
- Women’s Steeplechase semifinal at 8:35 p.m.
Friday, June 7:
- Women’s pole vault at 6:15 p.m.
- Women’s triple jump at 6:25 p.m.
- Men’s discus at 7 p.m.
- Men’s 400m hurdles final at 7:40 p.m.
Saturday, June 8:
- Women’s Steeplechase final at 5:57 p.m.
- Men’s 5,000 at 6:23 p.m.
- Women’s 4x400 relay at 6:43 p.m.
2013 NCAA Championship Broadcast Information
• June 6 at 6:50 p.m. ET: ESPN3
• June 7 at 7:30 p.m. ET: ESPNU
• June 8 at 5 p.m. ET: ESPNU
USTFCCCA Outdoor Team Rankings
The U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) released its week nine rankings and the Michigan State women's track & field and cross country program ranks 25th nationally.
USTFCCCA All-America Policy
Individuals and relays that score any portion of a team point in an NCAA Track & Field Championship will earn USTFCCCA First-Team All-America honors (place first through eighth). Those individuals and relays that place between nine and 16 overall (including ties) in an NCAA Track & Field Championship will earn USTFCCCA Second-Team All-America honors. Those who do not meet the criteria above, but participate at least a round of the finals site for an NCAA Championship will be listed as Honorable Mention All-America.
Post-Season Conference Honors
For the second year in a row, redshirt sophomore Leah O'Connor was named to the First-Team All-Big Ten. She defended her 2012 3,000-meter steeplechase title, running a time of 9:53.53. She wasn’t finished as she came back the next day to win the 5,000-meter run for her second gold medal of the meet. O’Connor has won every race she has ever competed in at the conference meet.
The Big Ten discus record-holder, redshirt senior Beth Rohl earned her second First-Team All-Big Ten recognition after winning her fifth career Big Ten title, sixth Big Ten outdoor medal overall. With her first throw in the discus event, Rohl took the lead and never let go winning the event with a mark of 55.22m/ 181-2. She kicked off her last conference meet as a Spartan by earning her second-straight bronze medal in Friday’s hammer throw competition, throwing a season-best mark of 60.25m/ 197-8.
A first-time honoree on the All-Big Ten First-Team, redshirt sophomore Antonio James won the first Big Ten outdoor medal of his career with a gold-medal winning performance of 58.25m/ 191-1 in the discus. He followed up with a sixth-place finish in the men’s shot put competition, hitting a career-best mark of 18.17m/ 59-7½ to score points for the Spartans.
Representing the Spartans on the Second Team All-Big Ten, sophomore Tori Franklin took home a silver medal in the triple jump competition on Sunday. The mark of 13.16m/ 43-2¼ gave Franklin her second Big Ten Outdoor medal of her career as she won bronze in the event at the 2012 conference meet.
Also recognized by the conference were redshirt senior Lonnie Pugh and redshirt junior Amanda Impellizzeri who were named Big Ten Sportsmanship Award honorees. Pugh scored points for the men’s team at the conference meet in both the discus and hammer throw, while Impellizzeri earned points for the women in the pole vault.
With the outdoor season winding down, the Spartans have already rewritten the MSU record books. The following records have been broken in the 2013 season:
• Antonio James
Discus Throw (59.78m/ 196-1) - Jesse Owens Classic
• Tori Franklin
Triple Jump (13.41m/ 44-0) -Drake Relays
Members of the MSU track & field team will compete at the USA Outdoor Championships in Des Moines, Iowa, from June 19 - 23.