After a very successful campaign at the SPIRE Invite last weekend, MSU track and field is looking to use that momentum this weekend and in the upcoming Big Ten Indoor Championship.
“We saw a group of individuals with a great deal of purpose and as a result the outcome was pretty favorable…just an all around great performance,” assistant coach Randy Gillon said.
Last Time Out
Last weekend was a big turning point for the team, bringing in five new records and three individual wins.
The distance runners, especially the women, were on the top of their game. Among the slew of great performances, standouts include Rachele Schulist who won the 3,000 meter race with a time of 9:06.85. Her time landed her at the top of the Big Ten, fourth-best in the NCAA and earned her Big Ten Athlete of the Week.
Aubrey Wilberding is continuing her progress and placed third in the 800-meter run at 2:06.96. Her time is fourth best in the Big Ten and set a new school record.
“Aubrey Wilberding in the 800, Rachele Schulist in the 3000. Those are two athletes that are just blazing the trail,” Gillion said. “They really forged their way into the Big Ten elite.”
To no surprise, Leah O’Connor won her mile race in 4:37.74, breaking her own school record.
“Last weekend was them rediscovering themselves, figuring themselves out,” Gillion explained. “While we haven’t competed at full capacity, there were definitely some positive steps forward.”
Devantre Whitelow continued his top-ranked season winning the 60-meter dash in 6.71.
Proving her Big Ten Athlete of the Week award last week was a sign of more to come, Tori Franklin won the triple jump with 13.39m/43-11 ¼. Her mark not only tied her own school record, but also broke the SPIRE Invite record.
MSU junior Jarred Gambrell performed well, earning his career best mark of 15.43m/50-7 ½. He placed third overall and his performance is the fourth-best mark in the Big Ten this season.
Senior Codi Mattix had a big day, placing first with a season-best mark of 5.10m/16-8 ¾. Mattix is back in action after returning from an injury, and is sure to keep impressing as he gets back into the rhythm.
MSU junior Antonio James earned his fourth season win in the weight throw with an impressive mark of 21.64m/71-0.
Along with many others, assistant coach Randy Gillon was highly impressed with how his team performed this past weekend. This upcoming weekend, the MSU track and field team will be competing at both the Alex Wilson and Silverston Invitationals.
He has already started to scout the competition.
“Everyone is down to the wire, everyone is gearing up,” Gillon said. “Everyone in the conference is prepping their athletes to perform at a high level [for the indoor championship] and if you look at times from the last week, most athletes have run their fastest times in the past week.”
This weekend looks to be one amazing display of athleticism and competition, and will undoubtedly be a stepping block for the Big Ten Indoor Track and Field Championship on March 1.
Alexa McCarthy is the host of Last Leg for Impact Sports.
Ashanti Seabron is a multimedia journalist for Impact Sports.
Photo: Alexa McCarthy/ Impact Sports