MSU Track & Field Finishes Strong at Music City Challenge

MSU Track & Field Finishes Strong at Music City Challenge

Provided by MSU

NASHVILLE, Tenn. - Michigan State track & field finished out competition at the Music City Challenge in Nashville, Tennessee on Saturday, held at the Vanderbilt Multipurpose Facility.

"I thought we were a little less consistent than we were last week, but we had some bright spots," MSU director of track & field, Walt Drenth, said. "You could see some growth out of some people and some significant people, so overall I'm pretty happy. It felt like we took another step forward."

The Spartans competed in the Music City Challenge for the first time, competing in an SEC-heavy field with over 27 teams in attendance. The difficult meet is potentially the last before the Big Ten Indoor Championships.

"It's good for us because you have to have perspective," Drenth said of the challenge. "We want to keep them out of their comfort zone, and being able to go to a meet like this where it's outstanding people in every event, and people we don't see often, it's a really nice opportunity for growth. I was pleased with that, and I think it was good for the team."

Redshirt-senior Katelyn Daniels continued her top-five finish streak, claiming third in the shot put with a final throw of 15.83m for the fourth-straight event. Freshman Kayli Johnson broke her personal record, finishing seventh with a throw of 14.76m.

Junior Will Agodu took first in the 60m hurdles with a time of 7.88, just one-tenth of a second ahead of the second-place finisher. Agodu's time sets a new personal record for the Spartan and ties the school record set by Shane Wells in 2009.

"Will has progressed really well," Drenth said. "Coach (Yolanda) Johnson is an exceptional hurdles coach, and Will is doing a really nice job of starting to trust her and take the things that she's trying to teach him. Sometimes it takes awhile to really trust a coach, and I think he's doing a better and better job of that. It's work and energy and practice, and you're starting to see the fruition of that in competition. I'm really proud of him. Obviously, we saw really good signs of it in the preliminary, and then to come back and run increasingly faster and beat a really good field of hurdlers in the finals, that's a big deal."

In the men's mile, redshirt-junior Justine Kiprotich took eighth place with a time of 4:08.67 in his first-time running in the event. Redshirt-senior Andrew Middleton finished right behind in ninth, crossing the line at 4:08.81.

Redshirt-freshman Morgan Beadlescomb won the men's 3,000m, breaking his personal record with a time of 8:10.23, and redshirt-freshman Brayden Law took ninth with a time of 8:16.16. Redshirt-sophomore Ryan Robinson set a new PR in 14th place, crossing the line at 8:20.95.

Redshirt-sophomore Dillon McClintock ran the women's mile for the first time in the Green and White, placing eighth with a time of 4:47.40, while junior Kayla Kavulich ran a personal-best 4:52.81, taking 12th. In the 3,000m run, redshirt-senior Bridget Blake took first with a time of 9:24.18, a season best. Sophomore Lynsie Gram followed in fourth place, with a time of 9:37.86 which marks her new personal best.

On Friday night, redshirt-senior Tim Ehrhardt won the pole vault competition, vaulting to a mark of 5.57m in his first outing since setting the school record with a 5.60m mark. Sophomore Nick Guerrant took third in the long jump, with a distance of 7.34m which marks a new personal record.

"Tim came back and vaulted well, and another win and a high bar for Tim. He's jumping over 18 feet every time he competes, and he's going to give himself a legitimate chance at the national championships," Drenth said. "The good thing for Tim this weekend is that he didn't warm up very well. He still managed to figure it out, and that's the sign of someone who is really starting to mature. If you get into a state where it's not going the way you want, it's easy to be your own worst enemy. He just kept trying to figure it out and he beat an exceptional field of pole vaulters."

In her first track event for the Spartans, freshman Maggie Farrell took fifth in the 5,000m, crossing the finish line at 16:28.06. In the men's 5,000m, redshirt-senior Clark Ruiz took second with a time of 14:17.11. Sophomore Matthew Thomas was seventh, setting a new personal-best time of 14:35.09.

Up next, the Spartans will compete at the Big Ten Indoor Championships in Geneva, Ohio, on Feb. 23-24.

"We've got to get healthy. We ran without a couple people today. We've got to make sure everybody else stays well moving forward," Drenth said. "I think we need consistency, and training to make sure we don't overtrain between now and the conference meet is going to be important."