June 7, 2012
EAST LANSING, MICH. - Quotes from the Director of Track & Field, Walt Drenth, on the performances of Beth Rohl, Leah O'Connor, Antonio James, Jaelynn Pryor, and Lonnie Pugh after Day 1 of the NCAA Championships in Des Moines, Iowa.
On Leah O'Connor (Women's 3000-Meter Steeplechase)...
Drenth: "I thought she did a wonderful job. As a redshirt freshman, she came in and ran a really poised race. The pace was pretty even, but she was a little rusty in the beginning. I am really pleased with her chances in the finals and she's got a pretty good chance of scoring. She'll be a little more locked in and engaged and I'll know she'll be tougher. I'm really excited to see how she runs (on Friday)."
On Antonio James (Men's Discus)...
Drenth: "A.J. (Antonio James) did an exceptional job. For a freshman to come in and throw as well as he did and to be in a situation where you are throwing close to your PR - and really getting an idea of what this is all about - is really going to help his learning curve as he moves forward. I would expect him to have a legitimate chance of scoring next year (in the NCAA Championships), and really climb to the ladder to become an elite discus thrower before he leaves."
On Lonnie Pugh (Men's Discus)...
Drenth: "Lonnie had a pretty good day and he was really close to scoring. He was the first or second guy to get into the finals. He had a big final throw which was a foul, but barely a foul, unfortunately. He's such a good competitor and going into his last throw we thought he a really good chance of advancing."
On Beth Rohl (Women's Discus)...
Drenth: "Beth was fantastic and she really came through. She was second in her flight and then in the finals she moved up to second overall after her first throw and that's just a sign of someone who really knows how to compete. Fourth place in this field? This was just a great field of discus throwers. She's not only one of top 24 throwers in the country, but now a candidate for the Olympic Trials."
On Jaelynn Pryor (Women's 400-Meter Hurdles)... Drenth:
"Jaelynn tweaked her hamstring in the warm-ups, and unfortunately for her, that probably made difference in how she raced. But still, she put her head down and raced at her best. Again, for a young athlete I was very pleased. That's one of the cool things about this group, there is some good veterans but I don't believe there is a senior in this group to navigate the process for them. Getting a chance to do this on their own really bodes well for our future and how we do moving forward."