MSU - O'Connor and Drenth Earn USTFCCCA Great Lakes Region Honors
Provided by MSU
EUGENE, Oregon - Senior distance runner Leah O'Connor and head coach Walt Drenth of the Michigan State track & field team have earned Great Lakes Region honors, as announced by the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) on Monday. O'Connor was named as the USTFCCCA's Great Lakes Track Athlete of the Year, while Drenth was tabbed as the Women's Coach of the Year.
O'Connor, a native of Croswell, Michigan, continues to compile awards, as she was named the Big Ten Outdoor Track Athlete of the Year and of the Championships after winning the 3,000m steeplechase, the 1,500m and the 5,000m at her conference meet. She broke her own school records in the steeplechase (9:35.33) and the 1,500 (4:11.04), which rank No. 3 and No. 2 among collegians this year. She'll contest and defend her national title in the steeplechase at the NCAA Championships.
O'Connor is the first Spartan to earn Great Lakes Region Athlete of the Year for the outdoor season since thrower Beth Rohl was named Field Athlete of the Year in 2011. O'Connor has twice been named Great Lakes Indoor Track Athlete of the Year.
Drenth, in his ninth year at Michigan State, advanced 10 entries for the NCAA's final rounds in Eugene, Oregon, which is a program record. He led the Spartan women to the Big Ten title for the first time since 1982. They are ranked No. 14 in the USTFCCCA National Team Rankings. This is the Drenth's fifth Great Lakes Coach of Year honor. He was honored in 2006, 2007, 2010, 2014 (Women's Cross Country).
The Spartans begin action at the NCAA Outdoor Championships on Wednesday, June 10 in Eugene, Oregon. Michigan State has 10 entries (13 athletes) competing, which is the most during Drenth's nine seasons.
O'Connor is back in action in the semifinals of the 3,000m steeplechase on Thursday, June 11 at 4:38 p.m. (PT). The ESPN family of networks will broadcast the NCAA Outdoor Track & Field Championships. Below is the ESPN broadcast schedule.
Wednesday, June 10
2 p.m. - 10:45 p.m. (ESPN3)
7 p.m. - 10:30 p.m. (ESPNU)
Thursday, June 11
1 p.m. - 10:45 p.m. (ESPN3)
7 p.m. - 8:30 p.m. (ESPNU)
8:30 p.m. - 10:30 p.m. (ESPN)
Friday, June 12
7 p.m. - 10:15 p.m. (ESPN3)
7:30 p.m. - 10 p.m. (ESPN)
Saturday, June 13
4:30 p.m. - 7:45 p.m. (ESPN3)
5 p.m. - 7:30 p.m. (ESPN2)
(All times are listed in Eastern)