EAST LANSING, Mich. â€“ Sophomore Beth Rohl of the Michigan State track & field team has been named both Big Ten Field Athlete of the Year and Big Ten Field Athlete of the Championships, as announced by the conference office this afternoon (May 18). Also receiving conference laurels for their performances at the conference championship was junior Becca Buchholtz, senior Emily MacLeod, sophomore Lonnie Pugh and freshman Ashley Stacey.
Rohl earns field athlete of the year and of the championships following her pair of Big Ten Championships last weekend in the hammer throw and discus throw. Rohl kicked off the competition with a solid performance in the weight throw to post her first championship of the weekend.
After fouling her first two throws of the day, Rohl recorded a distance of 56.01m to qualify for the finals in third place. Rohl regained her composure in the finals, posted back-to-back 60.0m-plus marks for her fourth and fifth marks. Rohl's fifth mark of 60.28m gave the women 10 points towards the team total. Her winning mark was also a career-best and facility record.
The 2009 Big Ten Indoor Freshman of the Year earned her second crown of the weekend during final day of competition in the discus throw. Rohl took control of the event early as she posted a first round score of 54.77m to lead after the first three throws. Rohl only continued her momentum as she captured her second crown of the weekend when she posted a toss of 55.94m. Rohl's mark was her second school- and facility-record of the weekend.
Rohl becomes the first Spartan to ever be named Big Ten Athlete of the Year or Big Ten Athlete of the Championships in either field or track. This is Rohlâ€™s second All-Big Ten laurel in her career.
Buchholtz joined Rohl with her win during the final day of competition in the women's high jump. Buchholtz posted a school-record height of 1.82m to win her second-straight high jump crown. Buchholtz opened the competition on a quick pace, as she cleared 1.67m, 1.70m, 1.73m, 1.76m and 1.79m all on her first attempt. After missing her first two tries at 1.82m, Buchholtz finally cleared the height on her third attempt to win the event. This marks Buchholtzâ€™s third All-Big Ten distinction in her career.
MacLeod was the third victorious individual during the final day, as she won the 5,000m run for her fourth individual crown during the 2010-11 school year. MacLeod kicked off her season campaign on a high note as she won the 2010 Cross Country Championships, prior to winning both the 3,000m and 5,000m crowns indoors. MacLeod came out strong in her final conference championship in her career as she turned in a facility-record time of 16:09.10 to win the event by 2.91 seconds. MacLeod has earned five combined All-Big Ten distinctions between cross country and track & field.
Pugh led the team during day two in the men's discus throw. Pugh earned 10 points for the men's total as he placed first in the event with a toss of 53.81m. Pugh entered finals in first place, and only extended his lead with his first throw of the finals. Of Pugh's three legal throws during both rounds, two marks were the top distances recorded in the competition, fouling the other three attempted throws. This is Pughâ€™s second All-Big Ten laurel in his young career.
Stacey kicked off her outdoor appearance with a second-place showing in the women's long jump for eight team points. Stacey entered the finals in third place and wound up posting her best leap during her second jump of the finals, the fifth overall jump. Stacey turned in a leap of 5.94m, finishing only 0.02m behind Leah Eber of Purdue in first. This is Staceyâ€™s second All-Big Ten honors in her first season in the Green and White.
Also, earning the Big Ten Sportsmanship Awards for the Spartans were seniors Charelise Davis and Spencer Beatty. Davis and Beatty were chosen as individuals who have distinguished themselves through sportsmanship and ethical behavior both on and off the track.
After a weekend off from competition, the Spartans will return to action when they travel to the NCAA Preliminary Rounds in Bloomington, Ind. Action begins on Thursday, May 26 and concludes on Saturday, May 28.