MSU track and field travels to Bloomington for NCAA East Preliminary Round


Morgan Beadlescomb competes for MSU track and field/ Photo Credit: MSU Athletic Communications

Jake Lyskawa, Track and Field Beat Reporter

EAST LANSING—Fifteen Michigan State track and field athletes are set to compete at the 2022 NCAA Division I Outdoor East Preliminary Round starting Wednesday, May 25, with a spot in the national meet on the line. 

Held in Bloomington, Indiana, the meet will feature the top 48 athletes in each event, as well as the top 24 relay teams. The top 12 finishers in each event advance to the 2022 NCAA Outdoor Championships held in Eugene, Oregon, which will take place on June 8-11.

The top 24 decathlon and heptathlon athletes will automatically qualify for the championship meet, meaning sophomore Ryan Talbot and junior Heath Baldwin have their places secured in Eugene. MSU will look to increase that total during the four-day preliminary meet.

Four Spartans will compete on the first day at Indiana University’s Haugh Track & Field Complex. Senior pole vaulter Trevor Stephenson will look to get back to the championship meet after earning Second Team All-American honors last year. 

Competing in the first of two flights, Stephenson will look to best his outdoor PR of 5.41m, which he set earlier this year at the Raleigh Relays. The height acts as the 18th-best finish in the country this season. He will compete against four of the nation’s top 10 pole vaulters in his flight. 

On the track, senior John Petruno will run in heat three of the first round of the men’s 1500m, with a chance to advance to Friday’s quarterfinals should he finish in the top five of his heat (or run one of the next four best times). 

Petruno captured his second consecutive bronze medal in the event at this year’s Big Ten Championships and ran a personal-best time of 3:40.43 at the Raleigh Relays this season, which was good for a school-record at the time. While he will be going up against Alabama’s Eliud Kipsang in his heat, who holds the fastest 1500m time this season, only four of the other 11 athletes rank inside the top-50, including Petruno at 47.

Sophomore Joshua DeVries will compete in his first regional meet, doing so in the men’s hammer throw. DeVries has a national top-100 throw to his name this season, earning a seventh-place finish at the Ashland Alumni Invitational in April by finishing with a top distance of 61.41m. He will compete against Kyle Lipscomb of Rutgers, among others, on Wednesday.

Terrence Muex is one of two MSU freshmen competing in the meet, and he will run in the first round of the men’s 400m on Wednesday. Muex, who’s coming off an appearance in the 400m finals at the Big Ten Championships, will need a top-three time in his heat to advance to Friday’s quarterfinals (or one of the next six best times). 

Freshman Noah Sage also qualified for the men’s 400m, but he had to sit due to injury.

Thursday will feature nine MSU women, headlined by 2021 First Team All-American Jenna Magness. The senior will run her second-career 10,000m race after she won the event at the Big Ten Championships this year.

Magness’ 33:37.17 time at that meet was good for the 36th-best time in the nation, two places behind her teammate, redshirt junior Makayla Perez, who will join her in Thursday’s race. 

Rounding out the 10,000m group is graduate student Lynsie Gram, who earned an Honorable Mention All-American honor for her performance in the event at last year’s championship meet.

Senior pole vaulter Sophia Franklin will also compete on Thursday. She will look to qualify for her third-career NCAA Championship meet after earning Second Team All-American honors at last year’s event. Franklin will participate in the second flight, going up against Big Ten Champion Chloe Timberg of Rutgers, as well as Louisiana State University’s Lisa Gunnarson, who holds the nation’s top vault this season.

The trio of Katie Osika, Lauren Freeland and Melanie Helder will run in the women’s 1500m after competing in the event at the Big Ten Championships. Osika finished second in the meet, running a time of 4:23.17 in the finals. Freeland finished two places behind her in fourth, running a time of 4:24.10, while Helder ran a 4:34.59 time to take 25th place in the first round. 

On Thursday, Osika will compete against the top seed Maudie Skyring of Florida State in heat three, while Freeland and Helder will race in the second heat.

Junior Jaiden Paris will compete in the first round of the 100m hurdles on Thursday, after setting a school-record time of 13.35 seconds in the event at the Indiana Invitational earlier this year. Paris will need a top-three time in her heat to advance to Saturday’s quarterfinals (or one of the next six best times). 

The final Spartan competing on Thursday is graduate student Quiara Wheeler. Wheeler earned Honorable Mention All-American honors last season while competing in the women’s hammer throw for Central Michigan University. She set her career PR of 64.90m in the event at last year’s East Prelims, where she finished eighth. Wheeler will face off against three of the top 10 hammer throwers in the nation in the third flight.

Graduate student Morgan Beadlescomb will headline Friday’s action for the Spartans, as he’ll compete in the men’s 5000m for the third time at the East Prelims. Beadlescomb won the event at last year’s meet, going on to finish eighth at the championship meet and earning First Team All-American honors.

Beadlescomb ran a personal-best and school-record time of 13:17.16 at the Bryan Clay Invitational this season, good for second in the nation and first in the East Region. The time is nearly 10 seconds faster than the next-best time in Beadlescomb’s heat, which Florida State University’s Ahmed Muhumed ran.

Freshman Kate Stewart-Barnett will compete in the women’s 3000m steeplechase on Saturday. Stewart-Barnett finished fourth in the event at the Big Ten Outdoor Championships, running a time of 10:15.69. Her 10:11.39 PR time at the Raleigh Relays this season is the 47th-best time in the nation, and she’ll compete against West Virginia’s Ceili McCabe, who holds the second-best time in the country.

Finishing on Saturday will be Wheeler, who is the only Spartan competing in multiple events. She’ll participate in the first flight of the women’s discus throw, an event in which she ranks 91st in the nation. Michigan’s Amanda Schaare and Indiana’s Madison Pollard are two familiar opponents that Wheeler will match up against in her flight.

Events will begin at 10 a.m. on Wednesday and Thursday, and at 1 p.m. on Friday and Saturday. A livestream will be available through Indiana University’s athletics website.