Katelyn Daniels led Michigan State with a first-team All-America performance in the discus at the NCAA Outdoor Track & Field Championships.
EUGENE, Oregon – Sophomore Katelyn Daniels earned First-Team All-America accolades with a fifth-place finish in the discus, as senior Katie Landwehr garnered second-team honors in the steeplechase on Saturday, June 11, at Historic Hayward Field to close out the 2016 NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships. Michigan State finished the championships with a team tally of four points.
“Katelyn was outstanding, recording a personal best in this event,” said Director of Track & Field and Cross Country Walt Drenth. “When we come to a championship event, we ask them to just be who they have been all year.”
The seven individual All-American honors surpass what the Spartans did a year ago, as five represented MSU women’s program as All-Americans in 2015 in addition to the 4x100-meter relay team.
Daniels made the finals with a second-round effort of 57.72m, which was the sixth best of the field after three rounds. On the first throw of the finals, she skied a disc that stayed just inside fair territory for a lifetime best of 60.54m. The heave catapulted Daniels into fifth overall and bettered her MSU record.
“What Katelyn did today is what she has been doing all year,” Drenth said. “She has been so consistent and has been training very well. She takes care of herself and is excited to be in this environment. I have been saying it all along, she will be a star here, and she is on the cusp on that.”
Daniels took 15th in the event a year ago with a mark of 51.81m. She is the third Spartan on the women’s side to earn All-American status in the discus and just the second to do so multiple times. Beth Rohl accomplished the feat in 2010-2013, while Ashley Lawrence was second-team in 2011.
“It was good to go out and throw the way I know how to throw,” said Daniels. “I am happy to end the collegiate season with a personal record. It is awesome to represent such a great community at Michigan State as an All-American. For the first time today, I just had fun instead of being super nervous.”
Landwehr opened the steeple in the middle of the pack, making a move toward to outside of the first jump in order to gain favorable position. She would later misjudge the water jump, stumbling out of the barrier and losing ground. Landwehr fought to close in on the rest of the field but would cross in 12th with a time of 10:25.54. She clocked a 9:59.77 in Thursday’s semifinals.
“Unfortunately, Katie fell,” said Drenth. “She put handled herself well up to the fall. It took the wind of her sails. I hope she can grow from this. When you get in a crisis situation you have to be able to handle yourself. She has had great performances though this year and is a Big Ten Champion, which not many can say that. She has been a great member of our team.”
“I got myself in the run and put myself out there,” Landwehr said. “It was a fast pace, but I was ready for it. I fell over the water barrier though, which happens, and I wasn’t able to recover. The race didn’t go the way I wanted to and that happens sometimes, but it has been an honor to just be here and represent Michigan State at the highest level of the NCAA Championships. I have had a good career with a lot of good memories.”
The Spartans have had an All-American in the steeplechase eight of the past 10 years, dating back to 2006 (Landwehr – 2016, Leah O’Connor – 2012-15, Nicole Bush – 2006-07 and 2009).
Seniors Lauren Chorny and Rachele Schulist, and junior Alexis Wiersma garnered second-team All-America honors on Thursday to open MSU’s week at the championships. Schulist earned her third outdoor second-team honor (two in the 5,000m, one in the 10,000m), while Chorny and Wiersma earned their first outdoor All-American accolades.
Michigan State finished with a total of seven All-Americans. See below for breakdown by student-athlete:
Katelyn Daniels – Discus (5th place, First Team)
Lauren Chorny – Pole Vault (T-11th, Second Team)
Rachele Schulist – 10,000m (11th, Second Team)
Katie Landwehr – Steeplechase (12th place, Second Team)
Alexis Wiersma – 10,000m (16th, Second Team)
Cynthia Watt – Hammer (20th, Honorable Mention)
Aubrey Wilberding – 800m (23rd, Honorable Mention)
“It speaks to the kids, coaching staff and our expectations,” Drenth said. “We can talk about culture, but the student-athlete have to live it. For the most part, all of our student-athletes have done that. When you come to Michigan State, you expect to be in a meet like this. We have some ingredients that could make a top 10 in another year, and what our group has done here is a reflection of that.”
Daniels will return to Eugene for the U.S. Olympic Trials from July 1-10. She earned an automatic qualifying spot in the discus, surpassing the standard of 57.00m.
“Katelyn has gotten more and more comfortable here,” said Drenth. “She has been here as a world junior competitor. This year sets up well. As a sophomore in college, she will come here to learn everything she can so next year she can come to this event as a legitimate contender. She is a tremendous athlete and will be a great leader.”