MSU - NCAA Indoor Track & Field Championships Update: Day One

MSU - NCAA Indoor Track & Field Championships Update: Day One

Provided by MSU

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. - Seven members of the Michigan State track & field team were in action on Friday as the 2015 NCAA Indoor Track & Field Championships got underway at the University of Arkansas' Randal Tyson Track Center.

MSU sophomore Tim Ehrhardt was the first Spartan to compete in the men's heptahlon. Ehrhardt recorded a pair of PRs in the long jump (7.47m) and the 60m dash (7.04), finishing fourth and fifth respectively in the two events. Ehrhardt also posted marks of 11.06m in the shot put and 1.92m in the high jump to score 3,075 points on the day, good for ninth overall. The heptathlon will wrap up tomorrow with the 60m hurdles at 11:45 a.m. ET, followed by the pole vault and 1,000m run.

"Tim did a really good job early and then struggled a little bit in the shot," said MSU Director of Track & Field/Cross Country Walt Drenth. "He's ready to get back out there tomorrow though. If he's able to perform well in the 60 meter hurdles, we think he's got a really good chance to get on the podium. He's still learning and improving as a young athlete, so I like where he's at."

Spartan senior Leah O'Connor, making her second-straight appearance at the national indoor championships, ran the top time of 4:34.17 in the women's mile preliminary round to qualify for Saturday's finals at 7 p.m. ET. The time was the second-fastest of her career, less than two seconds off her personal best of 4:32.29 at the Big Ten Championships on Feb. 28.

"Leah handled herself like a pro just like she usually does. She got to the front of the race early and kind of ran away with it. I'm excited about her chances tomorrow and expect her to run another outstanding race," said Drenth.

MSU senior Antonio James made his third straight-appearance at the championship meet in the men's weight throw after finishing second in 2013 and fourth in 2014. James posted a mark of 20.78m to finish 11th in the field, which included three other throwers from Big Ten schools.

"A.J. rebounded well after kind of a tough conference meet. He did a nice job against very high-level competition," said Drenth. "If he can carry that momentum into the outdoor season, he's got a chance to finish the year really strong."

In the women's distance medley relay, Michigan State's team of Aubrey Wilberding, Alicia Evans, Kennedy Beazley, Katie Landwehr placed ninth overall with a time of 11:17.26.

"Our women's distance medley group was fantastic. We had two substitutes in there and changed up the order, but they embraced the opportunity, ran fearlessly and ran as a team," said Drenth. "That was one of the proudest moments I have had as a coach on the track. Just an outstanding effort."

The championship meet will wrap up in Fayetteville on Saturday as two more Spartans will compete for national titles. Senior Tori Franklin will represent MSU in the women's triple jump at 7 p.m. ET, and sophomore Rachele Schulist will run in the women's 3,000m at 9 p.m. ET. Live results of the action will be available here, along with live streaming from ESPN3.