June 12, 2013
EAST LANSING, Mich. - The Michigan State track & Field program had a total of 12 members of the team receive All-American honors, as announced by the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA). The distinction is awarded for performances at the 2013 NCAA Division I Outdoor Track & Field Championships held last weekend in Eugene, Ore.
First-team USTFCCCA All-America honors are awarded to those who earn any portion of a team point at the national championships, or reach an eight-entrant final. Second-team All-America honors are presented to those whose final placing in the national meet range from ninth to 16th place.
Those who participated at the final site but did not place in the meet's top-16 are listed as honorable mention All-Americans.
First team honors went to redshirt senior Beth Rohl, who finished a career-high third in the women's discus competition. In her last collegiate competition, she posted a mark of 56.02m/ 183-09 to take bronze. She has qualified for every discus final in which she has competed at the NCAA Championships and leaves MSU as the most decorated Spartan thrower of all time with seven All-America honors.
Also named to the first-team was sophomore Tori Franklin for her fourth-place finish in the women's triple jump. With a personal-record jump of 13.56m/ 44-6, she broke her own school record and earned a career-high finish at the national meet. Franklin, who entered the meet ranked sixth in the nation, improved eight spots from her 12th-place finish at the 2012 national meet when she was received second-team All-America honors.
Rounding out the Spartans who received first-team honors was redshirt sophomore Leah O'Connor who placed fifth overall in the 3,000-meter steeplechase. She bounced back from her preliminary race to finish less than 20 mille-seconds away from her personal record time, crossing the finish line in 9:53.71 to earn her first points at the NCAA Championships.
Highlighting the second team is redshirt sophomore Antonio James. He finished 10th overall, the highest in his outdoor career at the national meet with a mark of 58.85m/ 193-1. It marks the second All-American honor of his outdoor career as he earned second-team recognition after placing 16th overall in 2012.
Redshirt freshman Caleb Rhynard also earned second-team All-American honors, representing MSU in the men's 5,000-meter run. He clocked a time of 14:14.10 to finish 16th-place overall. It is the first outdoor All-American distinction of his career.
The members of the Michigan State women's 4x400-meter relay each received second-team All-American honors. The team of sophomores Jellisa Westney, Alicia Evans, Jaelynn Pryor and redshirt senior Alysson Bodenbach became the first 4x400 relay to qualify for the national meet for the first time since 1983. Though they entered the meet seeded 24th, the women posted a time of 3:37.82 to finish a school-record 16th overall. It is the second All-American distinction for Pryor, who placed 18th in the 400-meter hurdles at the 2012 national meet.
Receiving honorable mention recognition was redshirt senior Lonnie Pugh, who finished 17th overall with a mark of 54.57m/ 179-0 in his last collegiate event as a Spartan. A three-time outdoor All-American, he has qualified for every NCAA Championship in which he was eligible and leaves MSU as the school record holder in the hammer throw.
Also named an honorable mention All-American was redshirt senior Keenan Michael. He finished sixth in his heat in the 400-meter hurdles, 17th overall, posting a time of 52.06. It was the highest finish of his career at the national meet and earned him his first All-American honors.
Sophomore Sarah Birkmeier, who was the first MSU pole vaulter to compete at the national meet since 2005, also earned honorable mention All-American honors. She qualified for her first NCAA Championships, after posting a personal-record height of 4.10m/ 13-5¼ at the East Preliminary Regional meet.