Eight Spartans to compete at 2022 NCAA Outdoor Championships


Lynsie Gram and Jenna Magness compete for Michigan State track and field/ Photo Credit: MSU Athletic Communications

Jake Lyskawa, Track and Field Beat Reporter

BLOOMINGTON, Ind.—Six Michigan State track and field athletes have qualified for the NCAA Outdoor Championships in Eugene, Oregon, thanks to their performances at the NCAA East Preliminary meet over Memorial Day weekend. A total of eight Spartans will head to the championship meet on June 8-11, after it was announced that junior Heath Baldwin and sophomore Ryan Talbot qualified for the decathlon.

After a majority of the events got moved up four hours due to rain, senior Trevor Stephenson headlined the first day by qualifying for the NCAA Championships in the men’s pole vault for the second straight year. 

The 2021 Second Team All-American passed on the opening height, but subsequently cleared 5.04m, 5.19m and 5.29m. Stephenson became one of two vaulters in the field to clear 5.39m, clinching a place in the championship meet on his first attempt at the height. 

In his first NCAA Preliminary meet, sophomore Joshua DeVries faulted on his first two attempts in the men’s hammer throw. DeVries threw for 58.79m on his third attempt, which was good for 38th place.

After a strong kick in the second heat of the men’s 400m, freshman Terrence Muex finished sixth with a time of 47.80 seconds in his first preliminary meet. That was good for 39th place overall.

Senior John Petruno was the fourth Spartan to compete on Wednesday, doing so in the first round of the men’s 1500m. Participating in the fastest of all four heats, Petruno ran a 3:43.61 time to finish fourth and qualify for Friday’s quarterfinals. 

On the second day, senior Sophia Franklin qualified for her third-career NCAA Championships in the women’s pole vault. Franklin was one of four athletes in flight two of the event to finish with a top height of 4.31m. 

The 2021 Second Team All-American started off the day by passing on the opening height of 3.81m but cleared 3.96m, 4.11m and 4.21m on two attempts or less. Franklin clinched her spot in the championship meet by clearing 4.31m on her first attempt, a height just .07 meters shy of her career PR. 

Joining Franklin in Eugene are senior Jenna Magness and redshirt junior Makayla Perez, who finished second and eighth in the women’s 10,000m, respectively. This was Magness’ second 10,000m race, with the first coming at this year’s Big Ten Championships. 

Magness took an early lead during the first half of the race, and eventually finished just over one second behind Alabama’s Mercy Chelangat. Magness will head to Eugene for the second time in her career after running a time of 34:18.92, with the hopes of earning First Team All-American honors once again. 

Following closely behind Magness for much of the race, Perez ran a 34:27.73 time to qualify for her first-career NCAA Championship meet. Graduate student Lynsie Gram, a multiple-time All-American, missed out on a return to the NCAA Championships after finishing the 10,000m in 35th place. 

Graduate student and 2021 All-American Quiara Wheeler competed on Thursday, just missing out on qualification in the women’s hammer throw. Wheeler’s top throw of 62.03m came on her first attempt of the day, and it was just over two meters shy of the 12th-place finisher, DeeNia McMiller of Memphis.

While junior Jaiden Paris missed out on an automatic qualifying bid in Saturday’s quarterfinals, her time of 13.50 seconds in the 100m hurdles was good for 21st overall and a spot in the next round. 

MSU had three athletes compete in the first round of the women’s 1500m, with two of them advancing to Saturday’s quarterfinals. In the second heat of the event, Lauren Freeland used a strong 100m kick to take second place, finishing with a personal-best time of 4:15.58 to qualify for the next round. Fellow junior Melanie Helder finished ninth in the same heat with a time of 4:21.71, missing out on the quarterfinals. 

Junior Katie Osika ran in the third heat, using a strong finish to end with a PR time of 4:17.64. She took fifth in her heat to join Freeland in the next round. 

The third night began with Petruno setting a PR of 3:39.70 to take third place in the men’s 1500m quarterfinals. Petruno finished less than a second behind two top-10 1500m runners in the country, thanks to a strong final 200m in the first heat. Not only was the time good enough for Petruno to qualify for his first NCAA championships, but it was also his first time breaking the 3:40 barrier. 

Graduate student Morgan Beadlescomb qualified for his third NCAA Championships in the 5000m, taking first place in the second heat. Beadlescomb, who holds the facility record in the event, finished strongly to beat out the pack and finish less than a second ahead of Harvard’s Acer Iverson. 

Closing out the meet on Saturday were five Spartan women. This time in the women’s discus throw, Wheeler again finished just shy of a national qualification. Wheeler’s 51.24m throw on her second attempt was good for 20th place overall, but just over a meter shy of a berth to Eugene. 

In the women’s 1500m quarterfinals, Freeland and Osika both broke their newly-acquired PRs but were unable to reach the NCAA Championships. Freeland ran a time of 4:14.86 to take eighth in the first heat, while Osika finished right behind her in 10th, running a 4:16.44 time. 

Freshman Kate Stewart-Barnett used a 10:14.17 time in the women’s 3000m steeplechase to take ninth place in her heat and 19th overall in her first NCAA Preliminary meet. 

Closing out the day for the Spartans was Paris, who finished just outside of a qualifying position in the quarterfinals of the 100m hurdles, taking 15th place. She ran a 13.48 second time, which was good for seventh place in the third heat.  

The eight qualifying Spartans will travel to Eugene, Oregon, on June 8-11 to compete in the 2022 NCAA Outdoor Championships.