June 10, 2014
EAST LANSING, Mich. - Five members of the Michigan State outdoor track & field team will have their opportunity to compete against the top athletes in the nation this week at the 2014 NCAA Outdoor Track & Field Championships at Hayward Field in Eugene, Oregon. Senior Kurt Schneider (decathlon), juniors Tori Franklin (triple jump), Antonio James (discus and shot put) and Leah O'Connor (3,000m steeplechase), and freshman Rachele Schulist (5,000m) will represent the Spartans this week, beginning on Wednesday.
Schneider is making his first appearance at the NCAA Outdoor Championships, and will be the first Spartan to compete in the decathlon at the national meet since Paul Terek in 2002. The decathlon competition begins on Wednesday at 2:30 p.m. ET with the first five events, and concludes with the final five events on Thursday, starting at 2 p.m. ET.
Schneider enters the meet ranked No. 18 nationally in the decathlon, after totaling 7,431 points at the Big Ten Championship to place second. He has had success at the indoor national meet earlier this year, earning second-team All-America honors in the heptathlon, after placing 10th.
Franklin enters the NCAA Outdoor Championship ranked No. 5 in the nation in the triple jump with a season-long 13.49m (44-3¼). She posted that mark at the NCAA East Preliminary Round, where she placed second. Franklin was the Big Ten champion in the event at both the indoor and outdoor championships, in addition to earning All-America honors at the NCAA Indoors with a fifth-place showing.
Franklin is making her third-straight trip to the NCAA outdoors, having finished fourth as a sophomore and 12th as a freshman. The triple jump competition will be Friday at 6:25 p.m. ET.
James qualified for the NCAA Outdoor Championships in two events for the first time in his career. He will be making his third consecutive trip in the discus and will be competing in the shot put for the first time. The shot put competition begins on Wednesday at 8:30 p.m. ET, while the discus is on Friday at 7 p.m. ET.
James ranks top-15 in the nation in both events, currently 14th in the discus at 60.15m (197-4) and 15th in the shot put at 19.35m (63-6). He was eighth at the NCAA East Preliminary Round and third at the Big Tens in the discus, while he placed 10th in the shot put at NCAA East. Earlier this season, James was a first-team All-American in the weight throw.
O'Connor continues her pursuit as the top 3000m steeplechase runner in the nation. She enters the meet ranked No. 3 in the country with a time of 9:44.35, and is coming off a first-place finish at the NCAA East Preliminary Round. A three-time Big Ten Champion in the event, O'Connor is making her third-straight appearance at the NCAA Outdoor Championships. She earned first-team All-America accolades last season by crossing fifth.
The semifinals of the 3000m steeplechase is on Wednesday at 9:45 p.m. ET, with the finals scheduled for Friday at 8:35 p.m. ET.
Schulist looks to finish her first competitive season in green and white on a high note. She qualified for the 5,000m with an 11th-place finish at the NCAA East Preliminary Round, and enters the NCAAs ranked No. 20 in the nation with a top time of 16:01.23. Schulist was also second at the Big Ten Outdoor Championship in this event. She already earned All-America honors this season, taking home second-team recognition at the NCAA Indoor Championships in the 3,000m.
The 5,000m race will conclude the action for Michigan State, kicking off on Saturday at 6:24 p.m. ET.
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.
ESPN Networks will cover every day of the meet, with Wednesday and Thursday being broadcast on ESPN3, starting at 6:55 p.m. ET. Events on Friday and Saturday will be broadcast live ESPNU starting at 7:30 p.m. and 5:00 p.m. ET, respectively.