MSU - Daniels and Gary Advance to NCAA Championships After Second Day of East Prelims
Provided by MSU
LEXINGTON, Ky. - Michigan State’s track & field team had another successful day at the East Preliminary Round in Lexington, Kentucky. Juniors Katelyn Daniels and Noah Gary both punched their tickets to the NCAA Championships on Friday.
There was a dramatic change in the weather as the rain and cool weather gave way to sun and higher temperatures.
“I have been really impressed with how everyone of them has been engaged. In every fight, not everyone is going to win and not everyone is going to qualify, but the way we behaved today from beginning to end was outstanding. The competitive effort, beginning with Katelyn (Daniels) and ending with Max (Benoit) was tremendous,” said Director of Track & Field and Cross Country Walt Drenth.
On the women’s side, junior Katelyn Daniels joined junior Jade Madison in the javelin and senior Hannah Sailar in the pole vault in punching her ticket to Eugene. Daniels finished 10th in the discus with throw of 53.57m. Entering her final throw, Daniels a two-time All-American in the discus was 13th. On her final throw, she came through with the 53.57m that got her in the top 12. This will be her third-straight trip to the NCAA Championships.
“I kind of got hit hard in the middle of the season, and you don’t necessarily feel like you can make it back, but the athletic trainers, Lonnie (Pugh),Coach Drenth and my teammates have all been behind me 150 percent. I am so grateful. No matter how it goes in Eugene, I am just so thankful to get a chance to go back and compete,” Daniels said.
“She knows what to do. She is not an Olympic Trials finalist because she doesn’t know what to do. The fact that she was able to sort herself out and throw well enough to advance speaks volumes to her as an athlete and a competitor. Frankly, it is so well earned that I would have been really disappointed if she didn’t make it,” Drenth said.
Junior Noah Gary will advance to the NCAA Championship in the pole vault, finishing 11th with a vault of 5.25m. Gary joins Hannah Sailar who also advanced in the women’s pole vault. The will be his first appearance in the NCAA Championships. Gary is the only Big Ten athlete from the East Preliminary Round to advance to Eugene in the pole vault.
“It is really exciting; I have never been to Oregon for a meet or anything. Last year, I came and didn’t do as well as I wanted. I am so glad that this year I get to go. The worst part was waiting at the end, but Coach (Creekmur) makes a great training plan. We just have to stick to the plan and trust that if we follow the plan we will get the results that we want,” Gary said.
“Coach Creekmur has done a great job; he has a great demeanor with that group. Noah did all that needed to do. He would have been prepared for a jump off, but he didn’t have to. It is fun to watch him qualify for nationals,” Drenth said.
Senior David Washington had a stellar final run in the Spartan uniform. In the quarterfinals of the 400m hurdles, Washington ran a personal best time of 51.25. He finished just outside the top 12, finishing 14th overall.
Sophomore Will Agodu advanced to the quarterfinals of the men’s 110m hurdles. Agodu finished third in the third heat with a personal-best time of 13.92 to automatically qualify. Overall, the sophomore finished 13th and will move on to the quarterfinal on Saturday. Agodu and Ohio State’s Donovan Robertson are the only Big Ten athletes advancing to Saturday’s action.
“It was a quality field of hurdlers and he has a legitimate shot. He looks better and better with every race. If the weather is conducive tomorrow, he will run faster, and more importantly he is clearly going to choose to compete,” Drenth said.
In the men’s 3,000m steeplechase, junior Max Benoit narrowly missed out on advancing to the NCAA Championships, finishing fourth in his heat with a time of 8:46.90. Mississippi’s MJ Erb captured the heat with a time of 8:36.93. Benoit was in the next pack with IUPUI’s Robert Murphy edging out Benoit for the third spot with a time of 8:44.91.
Benoit topped his season best of 8:54.45 at the Virginia Challenge in April.
“I am really disappointed for both of them (Washington and Benoit) at the same time I couldn’t be more proud of them and how well they competed all day,” Drenth said. “Max followed the race plan perfectly. He executed and just came up a hair short. The reality is he had his best race of the year by more than two seconds, and I was really happy with it,” Drenth said.
In the women’s steeplechase, freshman Karrigan Smith had a solid showing in her first East Prelim. Smith finished 26th with a time of 10:28.70.
The Spartan men and women will conclude action on at the East Prelims on Saturday, May 27. Michigan State will begin competing at 6 p.m. with junior Katelyn Daniels in the women’s shot. Sophomore Justin Kiprotich will run in the 1,500m at 6:45pm.