MSU - Ehrhardt and Gjokaj Kick off NCAA Championships

MSU - Ehrhardt and Gjokaj Kick off NCAA Championships

Provided by MSU

EUGENE, Oregon - Michigan State track & field began action at the NCAA Outdoor Track & Field Championships on Wednesday at historic Heyward Field in Eugene, Ore., with two male athletes competing. Sophomore Tim Ehrhardt led the way, standing in 10th place with 3,980 points after five events in the decathlon, while sophomore Vinny Gjokaj competed in his first NCAA Championship in the men's hammer.

Wednesday's Results/Live Results

Ehrhardt got off to a fast start in the decathlon with a time of 11:00m in the 100m. He jumped to tied for second after finishing third in the long jump with a mark of 7.45m, which was just shy of his career high jump of 7.47m. The jump of 7.45m was a season high. In the shot put, Ehrhardt threw 11.89m, falling to 10th overall after three events. In the high jump, he earned a mark of 1.87m, adding 687 points.

In the final event of the day the 400m, the sophomore set a personal best with a time of 47.99. He finished third in the event and earned 910 points. He entered his first NCAA Outdoor Championships ranked No. 21 in the nation. The final five events begin tomorrow at 1 p.m. ET.

"I thought Tim was outstanding today. You start coming to national meets and having personal bests. His long jump was exceptional, certainly a personal best in a multi-event," said MSU Director of Track & Field Walt Drenth. "A PR in the 400m to end the day is amazing, and it was his second-fastest 100m. I think that he has a great chance to be on the podium on Friday."

In his first NCAA Championship, sophomore Vinny Gjokaj finished 18th in the men's hammer with a throw of 63.83m (209-5 ).

"I thought that Vinny had great poise. At the beginning he had a little bit of nerves, but he did a great job. I have no doubt that with two years left that next year he will come back here and make it into the top nine," Drenth said.

Under the new NCAA schedule, on Thursday, June 11 the women take the center stage. Along with the completion of the decathlon and the heptathlon, Thursday will have finals in several women's events, including the hammer, pole vault, long jump, javelin throw, shot put and the 10,000m.

Joining Ehrhardt in action tomorrow will be junior Cynthia Watt (hammer), senior Sarah Birkmeier (pole vault) and senior Leah O'Connor, who begins her defense of her 3,000m steeplechase title. The 4X100 relay team of senior TeJuanna Williams, senior Lauren Rose, junior Alicia Evans and senior Jellisa Westney will be also be in action tomorrow.