MSU - Ehrhardt Breaks Decathlon School Record Tops Weekend Performances
Provided by MSU
EAST LANSING, Mich. - Michigan State track & field continued to make progress on the final day of the Virginia Challenge in Charlottesville, Virginia, and the Jesse Owens Classic in Columbus, Ohio.
Highlighting the string of career-best and season-best achievements for the Spartans was a new school record in the decathlon set by redshirt-senior and five-time All-American Tim Ehrhardt, who has earned a spot as one of the top decathletes in the nation and an NCAA qualifier this outdoor season.
“Really from beginning to end I thought we did a nice job,” said Michigan State director of track & field, Walt Drenth. “Everywhere you look, we continue to back up what we’ve started. They’re starting to own the program. They’re doing things culturally that good teams do in order to be successful. They’re on the right track. We get into a big competition like this, and it’s a good preparation for the Big Tens. In our entirety, I thought we were pretty good today.”
Finishing out the last five events in the decathlon, Ehrhardt set a school record in the decathlon, finishing first in the event with a personal best of 8,044 points, also a meet record. Ehrhardt beat the school record by just three points, set by Paul Terek in 2002 with a score of 8,041. Ehrhardt set career-bests in the discus (41.40m), the javelin (53.08m) and the 1,500m (4:30.04) to claim a first-place finish. His total score currently ranks third in the nation.
“Any time you score over 8,000 points, it’s a really special effort,” Drenth said. “He was just steady. This morning, he didn’t get off to a great start in the hurdles, and probably for the first time, he was really mature when it came to moving on to the next event. Both he and Nick (Guerrant) were a little disappointed in the hurdle races and then came back and threw the discus well. It was one good event after another, and they just competed. I was really pleased with their approach. Nick’s performance has always made the national final. I’d be shocked if he hasn’t already punched his ticket to Eugene. They kept a good attitude, and having them both out there together was a good thing. They lifted each other up when it didn’t go well.”
Redshirt-sophomore Nick Guerrant placed second in the decathlon, with a new personal-best score of 7,549. Guerrant threw a career-best in the javelin with a mark of 53.18m, as well as in the 1,500m with a time of 4:41.98.
In the 110m hurdles, senior Devin McKinney finished 13th with a time of 14.88.
“Devin was on target to run really fast, and he came up on a hurdle and caught it. When you start running faster, you have to be a little bit more reactive. It’s part of the learning process, but he clipped a hurdle and lost his balance,” Drenth said. “He kept his pace, but it cost him time. He was almost a full flight of hurdles ahead of the people he was running with. I think he would’ve run close to under 14 seconds. He’s kept a good attitude about it, and I’m looking forward to seeing him run a clean race next week, and run a little bit faster.”
Senior Antonio Clarke was the top Spartan finisher in the 200m, claiming 11th by crossing the line at 21.49.
“I was bummed for the 200m runners, because they turned the starting line a different direction and then we ran into a headwind,” said Drenth. “After they made the decision, the wind shifted. Unfortunately for them, it wasn’t ideal, but I thought they competed well.”
Junior Taylor Mullins broke her personal record in the 400m hurdles, clocking in at 59.35 for fourth place.
“Taylor ran the 200m about an hour and half before the intermediates. She wasn’t totally fresh, but I really liked how she competed,” Drenth said. “She’s a smart racer. She didn’t go out too fast. She ran really well late. She’s starting to get a really good feel for the event. I expect she’s going to run faster and faster as the season goes.”
On the women’s side, redshirt-sophomore Dillon McClintock won the 1,500m with a time of 4:18.28, while redshirt-sophomore Carlyn Arteaga won the third heat with a career-best time of 4:24.21. Junior Kayla Kavulich posted a PR of 4:24.93, and redshirt-freshman Lindsey Rudden did the same with a time of 4:25.41.
In the men’s 1,500m, junior Justine Kiprotich placed fifth with a time of 3:44.17, a season-best. Redshirt-sophomore Morgan Beadlescomb won the third heat of the 1,500m, placing 14th overall with a time of 3:46.00, a personal best. Senior Andrew Middleton posted a career-best time of 3:49.58.
“They did everything well. They competed well. They finished well. I thought they were engaged. They made good decisions,” Drenth said. “Justine was pretty good. He’s still trying to get himself fully healthy. He’s been fighting something off. Morgan won his section. The women were outstanding. Based on the last five or six years of the first round of Nationals, I think we may have had more women in the 1,500m qualify for the first round. Dillon backed up her good performance at Raleigh by beating an outstanding field. It was a little more tactical this time, so they didn’t go out quite as fast. She closed in 63, and that’s the kind of stuff you need to do if you want to score well at the Big Tens and do well at the National Championship. Carlyn was good. It was a really big breakthrough run for Kayla. Lindsey Rudden had meniscus surgery, and was able to come back, and 4:25 almost always makes it to the Nationals as well. That whole group did a nice job.”
Redshirt-sophomore Jeralyn Poe was the top Spartan in the women’s 5,000m with a time of 16:25.92, good for 15th place. Freshman Maggie Farrell cut 10 seconds off her season-best, clocking in at 16:35.72. Redshirt-senior Clark Ruiz achieved a career-best in the men’s 5,000m with a time of 14:02.03, placing 13th.
Redshirt-senior Katelyn Daniels claimed fourth in the shot put with a throw of 15.33m. Senior Max Knoblock took fifth in the javelin, throwing a season best 63.82m.
Jesse Owens Classic
“Today we had our ups and downs,” MSU assistant coach Yolanda Johnson said. “I’m very proud of how the athletes went out there and tried to put some things together so we can build this momentum going into the Big Ten Championships. They were competitive. That is one of the difficult things for an athlete to get out there and do. Being competitive and sure of themselves got them through, and we saw some season-bests today.”
Redshirt-freshman Kayli Johnson placed seventh in the shot put with a mark of 13.92m, followed by redshirt-freshman Niki Sargent in 13th with a throw of 13.32m. Redshirt-freshman Jerimiah Evans took fifth on the men’s side with a final throw of 17.03m.
In the discus, Evans threw 52.04m for seventh place, and redshirt-freshman Nick Kramer placed 18th with a throw of 43.72m. On the women’s side, Sargent claimed 18th with a throw of 42.92m.
Junior Jon Edwards placed eighth in the long jump with a mark of 6.49m, while senior Morgan Johnson took 11th place on the women’s side with a distance of 5.40m. In the triple jump, Johnson posted a 17th-place finish with a mark of 10.78m.
Senior Denise Spann placed 16th in the 400m dash with a season-best time of 57.49, while freshman Brooke Bogan set a personal best in the 400m with a time of 58.40. Freshman Drew Coleman posted a time of 1:07.43 in the women’s 400m hurdles, good for 19th place.
Redshirt-freshman Noah Zalapi recorded a 200m time of 22.02, a new personal best, as well as posting a personal record of 51.30 in the 400m dash.
Junior Will Agodu finished third in the 110m hurdles with a time of 14.32, and sophomore Nick Moore recorded a career-best time of 15.35 for 18th place.
Next weekend, the MSU track & field team will compete in the “GINA” Relays hosted by Hillsdale College in Hillsdale, Michigan, on April 27-28.