Schulist, Kiprotich and Daniels paced Michigan State track & field on the final day of the Big Ten Championships.
Lincoln, Nebraska – A trio of Spartans earned second-place honors on the final day of the Big Ten Outdoor Track & Field Championships at the Ed Weir Stadium in Lincoln, Nebraska, on Sunday, May 15. MSU finished tied in sixth with Iowa in the women’s competition with 58 points, while the men’s team finished 11th with a score of 27.5.
“We had a lot of outstanding performances this weekend,” said Director of Track & Field and Cross Country Walt Drenth. “The men need to step into some leadership roles, but this is a good, young group on both sides, and we have to learn to be all in throughout the weekend. We saw some real opportunities to grow, and that is exciting.”
Senior Katie Landwehr earned First-Team All-Big Ten honors after claiming first in the steeplechase on Saturday. Sophomore Katelyn Daniels, senior Rachele Schulist and freshman Justine Kiprotich earned Second-Team All-Big Ten accolades.
The women’s 5,000 meters was a highlight for MSU, totaling 16 points. Schulist took second with a time of 16:10.33. Junior Alexis Wiersma followed in third, clocking a 16:15.16. Freshman Kelsie Schwartz added two points with a seventh-place finish. Schwartz ran a 16:41.45 and was the second-fastest freshmen.
“Rachele and Ally (Wiersma) were outstanding,” Drenth said. “They led the whole time, but were just outkicked. In championship events, it is difficult to lead that long. Having familiarity with one another didn’t hurt. Ally had a good push and then Rachele got her going again. It made a difference in our points. Ally rallied because of Rachele. Rachele took command of the run, which she hasn’t been able to do since being injured. Rachele is a national-level runner.
“Schwartz also did a remarkable job, as she has throughout the year. She didn’t do as well indoors, but fought through that race and didn’t cash it in.”
Kiprotich earned a spot on the podium in the men’s 1,500 meters, finishing as the runner-up with a 3:45.25. He was an automatic qualifier after winning his heat in the prelims with a 3:50.44.
“Justine was outstanding in taking second in that class of a field,” said Drenth. “Many in that field have scored at nationals. I am impressed with how he behaved and performed. Justine had his shoe kicked off late and he kept his poise. He has a real understanding and can put himself in a position to run. He is a special talent, and if he continues to mature, he’ll be impactful at nationals.”
Daniels also reached the podium, taking second in the discus throw. She notched a heave of 57.54m on her sixth and final attempt of the day.
“I think Katelyn Daniels is one of best discus throwers in the country, Drenth said. “There is nothing to be ashamed of with a second-place finish in this conference. She just kept getting better throughout the competition.”
In the 110-meter hurdles, freshman Will Agodu crossed the line in fifth with a career-best 14.29. Agodu was the top freshman in the Big Ten in the event.
“Will was outstanding with a season best and did a great job finishing fifth,” said Drenth. “Will got out well and hit a couple of hurdles, but he kept racing and regrouped. He got the message and understands how much better you have to be later in the championships. I was so excited for him. He is a great kid and trains hard. He is the whole package and a quick study to pick up the idea and be better.”
Michigan State opened the day on the track with a seventh-place finish in the women’s 4x100-meter relay. Sophomore Cierra Pryor, freshman Asya Reynolds, freshman Autumn Robinson and senior Janae Hill combined for a 45.71.
“On the women’s side, we scored in four of eight events I thought we could have scored in,” said Drenth. “I thought the 4x100 team did a great job to win their section with a season best. That made a difference for us.”
The Spartans recorded three points in the women’s pole vault, led by a seventh-place effort by senior Lauren Chorny. Chorny cleared 4.06m after missing at each of the first two heights. Junior Hannah Sailar was eighth with a height of 4.06m. Sailar had two misses before clearing her season-best height.
“In the pole vault, we scored with both Lauren and Hannah,” Drenth said. “We are so deep in this conference in the field events. Sometimes you get seventh and sometimes you get first or second. They scored and in two weeks they could qualify for nationals.”
Senior Caleb Rhynard paced Michigan State in the men’s 5K, crossing in ninth with a 14:24.92. Senior Sherod Hardt placed just outside the top 10, coming in with a 14:27.90 for 11th.
After running a 4:26.49 in the prelims of the 1,500 meters on Saturday, sophomore Kennedy Beazley clocked a 4:25.36 to round out the top 10 of the field.
Sophomore Riley Norman recorded a distance of 17.19m in the men’s shot put, finishing 11th. Norman’s long of the day came on his second attempt.
In the women’s high jump, sophomore Ellen DiPietro tied for 14th, clearing the bar at 1.71m. She missed just one attempt at the height before being knocked out at 1.76m.
“We have to take the things that we learned and understand and apply those lessons to the next meet,” Drenth said. “You can’t spend time about what you did wrong, but pay attention to what you can control. From my standpoint, on the women’s side we have a core group to raise us back to the top of the conference. I am proud of them and pleased with everyone’s growth.”
Michigan and Minnesota both scored 106 points to share the women’s title. Nebraska followed with 94 points. On the men’s side, the Cornhuskers clinched the team title with 140.5 points. The Wolverines were second with a score of 90.5, and Purdue rounded out the top three with 87 points.
Next up for Michigan State is the NCAA East Preliminaries in Jacksonville, Florida, from May 26-28. Coming into the Big Ten Championships, 11 Spartans on the men’s side and 12 on the women’s rank among the top-49 in their given events on the NCAA East Prelim list.