MSU - Spartans Win 12 Events At ACC-Big Ten Challenge In Louisville

MSU - Spartans Win 12 Events At ACC-Big Ten Challenge In Louisville

Provided by MSU

LOUISVILLE, Ky. - The Michigan State track & field teams were back in action on Saturday at the Big Ten/ACC Challenge, hosted by the University of Louisville's Cardinal Park. MSU combined with Big Ten member school Indiana to defeat ACC programs Louisville and Notre Dame 89-76 in the women's competition and 96-64 on the men's side.

The Spartans had nine athletes claim wins in 11 individuals events on the day, including two victories each for seniors Leah O'Connor and Antonio James. The team of Jellisa Westney, Aubrey Wilberding, Alicia Evans and Tori Franklin won the women's 4x400 relay with a time of 3:36.54.

"I thought we competed really well coming out of an off week," said Director of Track & Field/Cross Country Walt Drenth. "One of our main objectives is always to be good at the end of the meet and I felt like we really excelled at the end today with our men's and women's relay teams. Jellisa, Aubrey, Alicia and Tori were all really good."

O'Connor broke her own school record and also set the meet record in the women's 1500m race with a time of 4:14.57. She followed that with a winning time of 2:06.77 in the women's 800m. Rachele Schulist (4:16.41) and Aubrey Wilberding (2:09.28) recorded runner-up finishes in the 1500m and 800m, respectively.

"Leah and Rachele were both great in the 1500 today," said Drenth. "Leah came back to win the 800 today as well and showed just how good she is and Aubrey ran really well right behind her."

James won the men's shot put with a mark of 18.45m and also posted the top throw of 57.54m in the discus. Freshman Katelyn Daniels had a top throw and personal best of 56.08m in the women's discus and was also the runner-up in the shot put with a mark of 15.17m.

"Great efforts out of throwers to start the meet. A.J. had two good performances in the shot and the discus and Katelyn Daniels was terrific as well. She's just a freshman and we think she's got a great chance to compete and score at the national meet," said Drenth.

MSU also had the top perfomers in the men's and women's hammer throw. Junior Cynthia Watt won the women's competition with a 60.98m mark and sophomore Vinny Gjokaj won the men's event with a PR of 62.50m. Junior Connor Kostrzewa placed second with a throw of 62.32m.

"I thought Vinny and Connor were both outstanding in the hammer today. The marks they put up are solid marks for the conference, so that has us excited for their potential to score at the Big Ten meet."

The Spartans had a pair of runners claim the men's and women's 3000m steeplechase. Junior Katie Landwehr ran a time of 10:28.95 to win the women's race, while sophomore Max Benoit ran a PR of 8:58.24 to win the men's race. Junior Chris Collier also ran a career-best time of 9:04.87 and finished second overall.

Freshman Allison Lunau took first in the women's 5000m run with a time of 16:59.32.

Sophomore Tim Ehrhardt cleared the bar at 5.25m to win the men's pole vault.


MSU will compete in the Virginia Challenge next weekend on Friday, Apr. 17, and Saturday, Apr. 18, in Charlottesville, Virginia.