Saturday Track and Field Dual Recap: Michigan State vs. Michigan

Saturday Track and Field Dual Recap: Michigan State vs. Michigan

Provided by MSU

Allendale, Mich. - The Michigan State track & field teams battled it out with rival Michigan in an early season dual meet on Saturday afternoon at Grand Valley State's Kelly Family Sports Center. The 23rd-ranked Spartan women delivered a thrilling one-point victory over the No. 15 Wolverines, 81-80, while the No. 25 MSU men fell by a score of 85-76.

"I really appreciated how competitive we were. I thought we made some mistakes that kind of let Michigan back in the meet with three pretty critical errors," said Michigan State Director of Track & Field and Cross Country Walt Drenth. "We went one-two in the 200 and then were disqualified for lane lines. We got disqualified at 600 meters and essentially gave away a lot of points. On the other hand, I thought we battled all day. I thought our sprinters were good. We challenged them late to be competitive and I thought we were good at the tail end of the meet.

"We saw some amazing national-class performances out of some people. Some throwers, a couple of distance runners. For the most part, I was really pleased. I thought our men got better overall. You want to win. We told them the only thing we're measuring is what place you get because that's what determines the score. We'll grow like I said, we'll be better. It's great to win. Michigan has a great track and field team. They're ranked in the top 20. Their men's team is growing and I think we've got to continue to make progress as well."

The Spartans had a number of outstanding individual performances from both the men's and women's squads. Reigning Big Ten Women's Track Athlete of the Week Leah O'Connor continued her strong start to the indoor season with a pair of wins in the women's mile and 800m. The senior standout won the mile by more than eight seconds with a time of 4:34.28, breaking her old school record of 4:34.35 set last season. O'Connor's mile time also ranks second nationally behind only Dominique Scott (4:32.48) of Arkansas. O'Connor followed that with a personal-best time of 2:07.08 in the 800m. MSU senior Tori Franklin also came through with a pair of victories in the women's long jump (5.62m) and triple jump (12.11m).

The Spartan women received first-place marks and times in the following six events as well.

400m - Alicia Evans, 55.10

3,000m - Rachele Schulist, 9:07.58

High Jump - Ellen DiPietro, 1.73m

Pole Vault - Sarah Birkmeier, 3.90m

Shot Put - Katelyn Daniels, 14.72m

Weight Throw - Cynthia Watt, 18.43m

All-American thrower Antonio James also had a big day for Michigan State, winning the men's shot put (18.74m) and weight throw (21.13m). Both marks were season bests for James. Four other MSU men turned in top performances in the following events.

600m - Brandon Wallace, 1:20.16

60m hurdles - Devin McKinney, 8.00

Pole Vault - Jaime Salisbury, 5.10m

Triple Jump - Jarred Gambrell, 14.85m

The Spartan men and women will travel to Notre Dame next weekend to compete in the Meyo Invitational on Friday, Feb. 6 and Saturday, Feb. 7.