Spartan Track & Field Tallies Several Event Wins At ACC/Big Ten Challenge
Provided by MSU
LOUISVILLE, Kentucky – Fueled by six event wins on Saturday, April 16, Michigan State track & field finished third in the women’s competition at the ACC/Big Ten Challenge at the Owsley B. Frazier Cardinal Park, hosted by the University of Louisville, with 125.5 points, as the men took fourth with a team score of 123.
“We finished well today,” said Director of Track & Field and Cross Country Walt Drenth. “Noah (Gary), Ellen (DiPietro), the hurdlers and performers all over did well. It was cool to see the javelin throw and for them to get off the mark.
“We went into the weekend to get better, and we do take the team score seriously. You learn from being in this environment and learn how to behave in a championship setting. When you are in this environment, you can’t no height or perform below your season average. You have to be engaged and rely on each other.”
The women’s high jump proved to be MSU’s strongest field event of the day as sophomore Ellen DiPietro and senior Adeline Grier-Welch finished 1-2. DiPietro passed on the first three heights. She cleared 1.76m on her final attempt before sailing over the bar at 1.79m. Grier-Welch didn’t record a miss on the day until being knocked out at 1.71m. Her best jump came at 1.66m.
On the track, MSU claimed event wins in both the men’s and women’s 800 meters. Junior Aubrey Wilberding, paced the field with a 2:07.45. Sophomore Sarah Rustmann, sophomore Kennedy Beazley and junior Erin Billette went 6-8-10, respectively. Rustmann turned in a 2:11.81, as Beazley ran a 2:12.39. Billette rounded out the top 10 with a time of 2:12.65.
On the men’s side of the 800, freshman Justine Kiprotich clocked a 1:49.09 to take first. Sophomore Andrew O’Connor’s 1:53.05 stood for sixth.
“It was nice to see Aubrey back to who we knew she could be,” said Drenth. “Justine then had his way with a very good field. He has really matured in all facets, both on and off the track. He is taking things more seriously and becoming more of an elite runner. He is a special athlete and will write a lot of records here.”
Sophomore Noah Gary led a trio of Spartans to top-five finishes in the men’s pole vault. Gary cleared 5.21m on his third and final attempt to win the event. Junior Jaime Salisbury took third with a clearance of 4.96m, missing three chances at 5.11m. Sophomore Justin Pederson rounded out the top five, recording a height of 4.51m.
In the women’s javelin, Jade Madison notched 10 points for the team effort with a throw of 43.61m. Max Knoblock followed suit on the men’s side, pacing the field with a mark of 63.31m, clearing second place by nearly six meters.
Junior Alexis Wiersma and senior Katie Landwehr finished second and third, respectively, in the 1,500 meters. Wiersma turned in an effort of 4:23.29, while Landwehr followed in 4:23.91. Senior Lindsay Clark rounded out the top 10 with a 4:31.36.
MSU had four harriers inside the top 10 of the men’s 1,500-meter run, led by senior Austin Wissler at 3:46.58. Junior Sherod Hardt came in seventh with a 3:46.90, while senior Nick Moon was right behind in eighth in 3:47.08. Senior Caleb Rhynard crossed the line in 10th, running a time of 3:48.29.
“Ally (Wiersma), Katie, Caleb, Sherod and really everyone in the 1,500 were good today.” Drenth said. “There were personal records all over, and I could see growth in a lot of places.”
Two Spartans qualified for the finals of the 110-meter hurdles. After clocking a 14.71 in the prelims, freshman Will Agodu raced to a third-place finish in a time of 14.41. Sophomore Devin McKinney clocked a 14.73 for sixth.
In the 100 highs, freshmen Maya Roberts and Asya Reynolds made the finals, finishing fifth and ninth, respectively. Roberts crossed in 14.09, as Reynolds closed the race in 14.34.
Senior David Washington set a personal record with a time of 51.46 in the 400 hurdles to tally six points for the Spartans’ cause.
Sophomore Katelyn Daniels took second in the shot put, recording a mark of 15.75m on her fifth attempt of the day. On the men’s side, sophomore Riley Norman finished inside the top three of the field with a put of 17.35m.
Daniels only recorded one distance in the discus competition, heaving it 49.35m on her second attempt.
In the women’s long jump, freshman Autumn Robinson and Reynolds earned top-five finishes, going fourth and fifth, respectively. Robinson tallied five points with a leap of 5.65m, while Reynolds jumped 5.63m on her second attempt.
“Asya was our performer of the day,” said Drenth. “She didn’t win any events, but she was competing as a young athlete and she embraced the load. If she picks up the javelin by the Big Ten Championships, she will be in a position to score in the multis in a conference that is very competitive in the multi.”
Junior Vinny Gjokaj followed his second-place effort on Friday with a fourth-place finish in the discus throw. Gjokaj’s best of the day landed 51.38m
Three Spartans placed in the top five of the field in the women’s and men’s steeplechase. Sophomore Kayla Kavulich turned in an 11:09.02 to take fifth in the women’s race. On the men’s side, sophomore Max Benoit and senior Chris Collier crossed the line in fourth and fifth, respectively, with a 9:00.95 and 9:07.99
Michigan State returns to action next weekend from April 22-23. The Spartans will be split between the Jesse Owens Classic and Virginia Challenge.