Five former Michigan State student-athletes join two current Spartans at the U.S. Olympic Trials
U.S. Track & Field Olympic Trials Links
Television Coverage | Event Schedule (PT)
EAST LANSING, Michigan - Seven Spartans are set to compete at the United States Olympic Trials at historic Hayward Field in Eugene, Oregon, from July 1-10. Current Michigan State student-athletes Katelyn Daniels and Tim Ehrhardt join five alums in TrackTown USA, headlined by 2015 Big Ten steeplechase champion Leah O’Connor.
“Having a balanced team was one of our goals for the program,” said Director of Track & Field and Cross Country Walt Drenth. “As we have gone through the process of developing the program over the years, we have made tweaks in our approach but balance has remained critical. It is critical to win a Big Ten Championships and having a successful team. This group at the trials is a testament to the kids and the coaching staff. The coaches have set the tone and to get the student-athletes to believe in setting the bar high. It is a great combination of good coaches and athletes that have bought into an idea.”
Four of Michigan State’s seven competitors at the U.S. Trials will be competing in the 3,000-meter steeplechase. The Spartans have had an All-American in the steeplechase eight of the past 10 years, dating back to 2006 (Katie Landwehr – 2016, Leah O’Connor – 2012-15, Nicole Bush – 2006-07 and 2009). Joining the three All-Americans in Eugene will be Sarah Price Boyle, who was a three-time NCAA Championship qualifier in the steeple while donning the Green & White from 2007-2009.
O’Connor clocked a lifetime best at the Prefontaine Classic at the end of May, taking sixth in the elite field with a 9:18.85. The only American to finish ahead of O’Connor in the race was Emma Coburn, who set the national record with a 9:10.76. Boyle and Landwehr both met the automatic qualifying standard of 9:53.00 at the Princeton with efforts of 9:50.57 and 9:52.29, respectively.
“Katie (Landwehr) learned a lot in the finals of the NCAA Championships and those lessons were applied at Princeton,” Drenth said. “It says a lot about her toughness to give it another shot. We knew she had the run in her, and she gave it her all. There is a level of toughness that defines the kids and the team. There are some nice parallels in those steeplechasers from that standpoint.”
Former Spartan Tori Franklin earned an automatic bid to the trials in the triple jump. Franklin is one year removed from East Lansing, having earned All-America honors three of her four collegiate seasons. She was back-to-back Big Ten indoor champion in the event in 2014 and 2015, along with winning the event outdoors in 2014. Franklin comes into the trials with a 2016 best of 13.66m.
Sophomore Katelyn Daniels is one of two current MSU student-athletes to earn a spot in the trials field, coming off a fifth-place, first-team All-America performance at the NCAA Outdoor Track & Field Championships in the discus. Daniels broke her own MSU record with a throw of 60.54m.
“This makes us more attractive,” said Drenth. “We talk about people coming to MSU and being elite athletes and having an elite experience. Seeing people contest at the Olympic Trials validates what we are doing. Our expectation is that throwing will be a strength of ours. We want elite throwers like Katelyn. We want to excel in the throws and will continue in that direction. We have had and continue to have with coach (Blaine Maag) really good coaches.”
Junior Tim Ehrhardt redshirted this past season after undergoing knee surgery and spending time working on development in the decathlon. Ehrhardt was the Big Ten’s indoor pole vault champion in 2015, along with runner up in the decathlon during the league’s outdoor championships. He took fifth in the decathlon in 2015 at the NCAA Outdoor Championships, becoming the third Spartan to earn All-America honors in the event.
“The initial decision to redshirt Tim was for his knee surgery, but some things needed to be addressed,” Drenth said. “He had to become a better hurdler. We knew he would get stronger and improve technically with the throwing implements. He has, for the most part, made progress in those areas. To reach his full potential, we knew he needed to learn those events a little more.”
This will be the sixth time that the U.S. Olympic Trials will be staged in Eugene. The event serves as the selection meet for the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro.
A complete list of television coverage can be found at the link above via NBC Sports, along with a link to the U.S. Olympic Trials schedule. Times provided on the schedule are pacific time.
Katelyn Daniels - Discus - July 1 at 7 p.m.
Tim Erhardt - Decathlon - July 2 at 12:45 p.m.
Tori Franklin - Triple Jump - July 4 at 7:15 p.m.
Leah O’Connor (adidas) - Steeplechase - July 7 at 10:48 p.m.
Nicole Bush (New Balance) - Steeplechase - July 7 at 10:48 p.m.
Sarah Boyle(Saucony) - Steeplechase - July 7 at 10:48 p.m.
Katie Landwehr - Steeplechase - July 7 at 10:48 p.m.
*Times are ET