MSU Track & Field Finishes Indoor Season at B1G Championships
Provided by MSU
GENEVA, Ohio - The Michigan State men’s and women’s track & field team concluded the indoor season at the Big Ten Championships at the SPIRE Institute in Geneva, Ohio, Feb. 25. The men’s team finished the indoor season with an 11th place finish with a score of 21 points. The women also rounded out the season with an 11th-place finish and a final score of 24 points.
Indiana won the men’s Indoor Big Ten Championships with a score of 112, Penn State took second with 84 points, while Wisconsin rounded out the top three with 75.50 points. Penn State garnered the women’s Big Ten title with 96.50 points, Purdue was a close second with 94 points and Ohio State took third on 83 points.
“Every time in an athletic event there is going to be some things that go well and some things that don’t go very well and we had a little bit of both these past couple days,” said Director of Cross Country and Track and Field Walt Drenth. “We need more depth and that is something that we will work on as coaches but I thought we continued to turn the corner today. I thought we competed from the beginning of the day to the end, for the most part. Our scoring pieces have to get better, we have to score, we can’t have people hiccup because they’re in a Big Ten Championship.”
Sophomore Will Agodu was the highlight for the Spartans on the final day of the Championships. Agodu was the last seeded sprinter in the men’s 60-meter hurdles from the preliminaries the day before and he raced to a fourth-place finish on a personal-best time of 7.91.
“He is certainly a talented guy,” said Drenth. “It has taken him a while to trust his new coach fully but you are starting to see evidence of that. Coach Johnson has done a fantastic job with him, she is an exceptional hurdles coach and I think he’ll keep getting better as long as he keeps trusting her. That fourth place finish is a clear indication of what he has learned and what he can do going forward.”
The duo of freshman Nick Guerrant and junior Justin Pederson concluded the last three events of the heptathlon. Guerrant finished 11th with a season-best score of 4610, while Pederson finished 13th with a score of 4378.
“The toughness of our multi-event guys coming back in the 1000 to run well was good,” said Drenth. “They both need to adjust in the pole vault, that’s a problem, but the fact that they came out and ran better than they’ve run all year in the 1000 means they at least have the guts to be involved. They had the courage to go out and be at their best and that’s some signs of growth for us.”
Sophomore Cody Stemple took 10th in the high jump, clearing 2.08-meters and sophomore Michael Schauer threw a personal-best of 16.37-meters in the men’s weight throw.
MSU had four Spartans compete in the men’s 5000-meter run and were led by junior Clark Ruiz who finished ninth on a time of 14:13.34. Junior Max Benoit took 14th, redshirt senior Sherod Hardt claimed 16th-place, and junior Nathan Burnand took 19th.
The men rounded out the day with a 10th-place finish and season-best time of 3:11.95 in the 4x400-meter relay. The team consisted of junior Alec Wiater, freshman Noah Burton, senior David Washington and junior Antonio Clarke.
“I thought the mental toughness of our 4x400 coming back and running well was a highlight,” said Drenth. “I thought they competed well. They ran a season-best by quite a bit. There are some things that we can hang our hat on today.”
On the women’s front, junior Katelyn Daniels finished with a throw of 18.62-meters to tally a seventh-place finish in the weight throw, while sophomore Stephanie Pajot tacked on her furthest throw of 15.47-meters. In the women’s triple jump sophomore Shelby Allen took 12th-place for a final jump of 12.02-meters.
“Katelyn is doing well and she did pretty good today,” said Drenth. “She will keep getting better and that will continue into the upcoming outdoor season.”
Michigan State had four athletes run in the 5000-meter run and were paced by senior Alexis Wiersma. Wiersma finished seventh with a time of 16:07.44 to earn two points for the Spartans. Freshman Amber Way and senior Molly Jeakle nabbed 18th and 19th-place, while sophomore Jessica Goethals rounded out the 5000-meter Spartan competitors.
“There were clear highlights on the women’s side,” said Drenth. “Ali Wiersma was just awesome today. Under many circumstances she’d be a two-time winner in the Big Tens and this time she was fifth and seventh because the races were so good.”
Now that Michigan State has concluded the indoor season it will look to shift gears to the upcoming 2017 outdoor season. The next time the Spartans will be in competition will be at the Raleigh Relays in Raleigh, N.C., Mar. 24-25.
“Everyone did a better job of being a team than they have in the past,” said Drenth. “I thought that was very important and I felt that we did a good job of being mentally tough through the course of the weekend and that’s a very big challenge. I felt that we committed to being our best nearly the entire weekend so we are going to take that forward into the outdoor season. If we can display that in practice and be passionate throughout the course of the entire outdoor season I think we will see quite a bit of improvement with this group.”