April 9, 2013
EAST LANSING, Mich. - The Michigan State track & field/cross country program honored student-athlete award winners from the 2012 season on Friday, April 5. At an annual banquet held the weekend of the Spartan Invitational, the program recognized seniors and outstanding team accomplishments.
Sara Kroll and Caleb Rhynard were named the 2012 MSU Cross Country Athlete of the Year. Kroll, who won the Big Ten Championships, was named Big Ten Female Athlete of the Year and was the top MSU finisher at the NCAA Championships. Rhynard, an Academic All-Big Ten selection, was the first Spartan to cross the finish line at both the Big Ten and NCAA Championships as a redshirt freshman.
The 2012 MSU Track Athlete of the Year was awarded to Leah O'Connor and Joe Banyai. As a 2012 Big Ten Outdoor Champion in the 3,000 steeplechase, O'Connor was named first team All-Big Ten and Second-Team All-America. Banyai qualified for the 2012 NCAA East preliminary round after placing ninth at the Big Ten Outdoor Championships in the 800-meter. He was also named Academic All-Big Ten selection.
Winning the 2012 MSU Field Athlete of the Year recognition was Beth Rohl and Lonnie Pugh. Rohl represented Michigan State at the Olympic Trials, finishing seventh in the discus with a new Big Ten record. She was named First-Team All-America for the indoor and outdoor season and finished fourth in the discus at the NCAA Outdoor Championships in addition to earning a bronze medal in the weight throw at the indoor and outdoor Big Ten Championships in the discus. She holds the school record in the discus and weight throw.
Pugh, who was also awarded the 2012 Coach's Award, also represented the Spartans at the NCAA Championships. He currently holds the school record in the hammer throw and discus. He qualified for the 2012 NCAA Outdoor Championships where he placed 11th overall in the discus throw to be named Second-Team All-American. Pugh finished sixth in the weight throw at the NCAA Indoor Championships.
Also receiving the Coach's Award was Alysson Bodenbach. The three-time Academic All-Big Ten selection was a consistent contributor to Michigan State in 2012. She was a part of the 4x400-meter relay that finished fourth at the 2012 Big Ten Outdoor Championships to qualify for the NCAA East Preliminary Round. Individually, she also placed sixth in the 400-meter dash at the Big Ten Outdoor meet. In the indoor season, she was a member of the distance medley relay that placed sixth and the 4x400-meter relay that won a bronze medal at the 2012 Big Ten Indoor Championships.
Recognized for the outstanding rookie seasons, Tori Franklin and Antonio James were named 2012 Freshmen of the Year. Franklin turned in a runner-up finish in the triple jump at the 2012 NCAA Indoor Championships before she placed 12th at the NCAA Outdoor Championships. She currently holds the indoor school record in the event. James finished 19th in the discus at the 2012 NCAA Outdoor Championships after placing 10th in the hammer at the NCAA East Preliminary Round. He also placed sixth in the weight throw and ninth in the shot put at the 2012 Big Ten Indoor Championships.
Kelsey Prena and Derik Peterman were honored for having the highest GPA's on the team. A two-time Big Ten Distinguished Scholar and Academic All-Big Ten selection, Prena earned a 3.83 G.P.A. for the 2012 fall semester. She is currently in the MSU graduate school for mass communication and finished first in the shot put and discus at the 2012 Don Kleinow Invite. Peterman, who received a 3.57 G.P.A. in the 2012 fall semester, has also been twice named a Big Ten Distinguished Scholar and Academic All-Big Ten selection. The physics major has represented MSU in the pole vault at the 2012 Big Ten Indoor and Outdoor Championships.
The Michigan State track & field/cross country seniors were also recognized at the event. They include the following student-athletes:
The Spartans will travel to Athens, Ga., for Spec Towns National Team Invitational on April 12 and 13.