Following incredibly successful cross country and indoor track and field seasons, the men’s and women’s track and field programs entered the outdoor season ranked in the top-10 in the USTFCCCA NCAA Division I Men’s & Women’s Program of the Year standings. The men ranked seventh and the women ranked ninth. The Spartans were one of just four programs to have both men’s and women’s teams in the ranking, joining BYU, Arkansas, and North Carolina State.
The regular season of meets saw a number of personal records set, qualifiers for nationals, and overall success by the programs. Some of the particular highlights include a second place finish in the men’s discus by Jerimiah Evans at the B1G North Florida Invitational on April 3. Evans threw 57.03 meters.
ℕ— MSU Track & Field/XC (@MSUTrackFieldXC) April 4, 2021
Jerimiah Evans takes in the men's discus invite with a big throw of 57.03m
Senior Morgan Beadlescomb later broke his own school record in the 5,000 meters at the Big Ten Indiana Invite #3 on April 16. Beadlescomb broke his own previous record of 13:47.44 set in 2019, finishing this time in 13:40.44, but also obliterated the track’s record set by UCLA’s Meb Keflezighi’s 1997 finish of 13:44.17. By the way, Keflezighi’s record was set a year prior to Beadlescomb being born. The finish earned Beadlescomb that week’s Big Ten Track Athlete of the Week honors, becoming the first Spartan to receive that recognition since Nick Guerrant in 2019.
At the Fighting Illini Big Ten Relays April 23 and April 24, a number of Spartans left with hardware and personal records. Rebecca Mammel took first place in the discus, throwing a new best of 49.08 meters, while Nikole Sargent took third. Mammel had a season-best hammer throw of 60.23 meters, which took home second place for her.
— MSU Track & Field/XC (@MSUTrackFieldXC) April 24, 2021
Women's discus open
Rebecca Mammel (49.08m)
Niki Sargent (47.23m)
On the men’s side, Jerimiah Evans took first place in the shot put, setting a new personal best. Evans threw for 19.03 meters. He also won the discus, taking the lead on his first throw and extending the lead on his fourth throw of 55.92 meters.
— MSU Track & Field/XC (@MSUTrackFieldXC) April 24, 2021
Another finish for Jerimiah Evans! He takes the discus with a throw if 55.92m
At the Billy Hayes Invitational in Bloomington, Indiana, six Spartans took home event titles. Evans again took home first place in the shot put with a throw of 18.75 meters. Morgan Beadlescomb won the 800 meters with a time of 1:48.13.
Have to take it back a couple of weeks and give some shine to my athletes. Jerimiah Evans with a previous PR of 18.63 meters #SpartanDawgs #SpartansWill #GoGreen #GoWhite #MSU #Shotput pic.twitter.com/7BYEtSdNE7— Coach Pugh (@CoachLPugh) May 1, 2021
Sarah Anderson took first place in the 1,500 meters with a time of 4:17.14, Brittany Krug set a new personal record in the javelin while taking home first place thanks to a 48.34-meter throw. Casey Mossholder took home second place in the 3,000-meter steeplechase, her first time in the event. She finished in 10:18.58.
The regular season concluded at the Paddock Open, hosted by the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. Sophia Franklin won her second-straight pole vault after cleraing 4.11 meters, beating out Michigan’s Mia Manson. MSU’s Calli Ostapowicz’s 3.86 meters was good for third place. Nikole Sargent took second in both shot put and discus, throwing 14.62 meters on her second shot put attempt and 43.62 meters in discus. Elizabeth Dalyrmple and Courtney Krupp finished second and third respectively in the 3,000 meters, while Haley Rathwell took first place in the 400-meter hurdles with a time of 1:03.44.
On the men’s side, Kendel Hammock finished the 400 meters in first place with a time of 49.64, while Zac DiStefano was second with a time of 50.12. Justin Ferraro took third place in the men’s mile, his first of the season, and finished in 4:18.48.
Big Ten Championships
The Spartan women had a great opening first day, standing tied for first with Minnesota at the end of the day’s action. Rebecca Mammel finished third in the hammer throw, setting a new career best in her fifth throw, which went 63.63 meters. India Johnson finished second in the women’s 10,000 meters and set a personal-best of 33:36.00. Shakira Dancy took first place in her women’s 200-meter heat to advance to the finals on Sunday with a personal-best of 23.69. Sarah Anderson advanced in the 1,500 meters after taking second in her heat, finishing in 4:26.07.
On the men’s side, John Petruno took second in his 1,500-meter heat to advance to the finals Sunday.
In day two action, the women dropped back in the rankings some, finishing the day in fourth place. Jaiden Paris advanced to Sunday finals in the women’s 100-meter hurdles, finishing with a new personal-best time of 13.60. On the men’s side, Antonio Postell advanced to the finals on Sunday in the 100-meter dash after a personal-best of 10.51 and a second place finish in his heat.
As for the finals on Sunday, three Spartans earned a Big Ten title. Morgan Beadlescomb took home the title in the men’s 5,000 meters, Sophia Franklin in the women’s pole vault and Jenna Magness in the women’s 5,000 meters. Franklin cleared a season best 4.35 meters in claiming her title.
Your Big Ten Champion Sophia Franklin!— MSU Track & Field/XC (@MSUTrackFieldXC) May 16, 2021
She clears 4.35m for the win! pic.twitter.com/v3Z81MCKdh
Magness did not just claim first place in the women’s 5,000 meters, but also shattered the Big Ten meet record for the event. Finishing over 10 seconds faster, Magness’s time of 15:38.82 was a personal best and claimed the Big Ten record from Michigan’s Erin Finnwhose’s 2014 finish of 15:48.9, which was the previous record. The last Spartan to win the 5,000 meters title was Leah O’Connor in 2015.
Beadlescomb had his signature closing finish to beat out Wisconsin’s Olin Hacker to claim the 5,000 meters title, becoming the first Spartan to do so since Kyle Baker in 1997. It was also his first Big Ten Outdoor title as he only managed to finish runner-up in the indoor men’s 5,000 meters.
Other Spartans placing in the top ranks on Sunday included a third place finish by John Petruno in the men’s 1,500 meters, completing his run in 3:52.61 despite a collision ahead of him at the finish line. MSU’s women’s team finished the meet in seventh place, while the men finished in 12th. Ohio State won the women’s title and Iowa won the men’s title.
Beadlescomb was voted to the 2021 Men’s Outdoor Track & Field All-Big Ten first-team, while Sophia Franklin and Jenna Magness were 2021 Women’s Outdoor Track & Field All-Big first-team and India Johnson earned second-team honors.
NCAA Outdoor Championships
In the interest of brevity, I am leaving out the NCAA First Round in Jacksonville, Florida and moving onto the championships in Eugene, Oregon. The 2021 championships were the first at Hayward Field since the renovation of the legendary facility was completed.
In the opening day’s action on Wednesday, June 10, Trevor Stephenson competed for the Spartans in the pole vault and earned All-American second-team honors when he cleared 5.15 meters. Wade Walder competed in the decathlon, making his first appearance at the NCAA Championships. Walder finished the 100-meter dash in 11.26 seconds, had a best jump of 6.61 meters in the long jump, threw the shot put 13.81 meters, cleared 1.89 meters in the high jump, and finished the day with a season-best 200-meter dash time of 49.93, finishing the opening day’s action in 18th place.
In Thursday’s action, Walder finished with second-team All-American honors by finishing ninth in the decathlon. A season-best finish in the 110-meter hurdles of 15.07 seconds, a 40.52-meter discus throw, and second place finishes in the pole vault and javelin buoyed his final point standings. A 4.91-meter vault and personal-best 59.66-meter throw in the javelin came before his final event, the 1,500 meters run that he finished in 4:42.28. He ended the decathlon with 7,565 points, a personal-best, and the best finish by an MSU athlete in the event since All-American Tim Ehrhardt finished sixth at the 2018 NCAA Championships.
Sophia Franklin also competed in the day’s action in the women’s pole vault. Franklin ended with All-American first-team honors after tying for eighth place with Kansas’ Samantha Van Hoecke, clearing 4.05 meters and 4.20 meter on her first attempts, before failing to clear 4.30 meters.
No surprise here, Sophia Franklin is now a first-team All-American! pic.twitter.com/lPZKPwQh0s— MSU Track & Field/XC (@MSUTrackFieldXC) June 11, 2021
In Friday’s competitions, Beadlescomb earned All-American first-team honors while shattering the school record in the 5,000 meters, his own record in fact that was set in the NCAA East Preliminary Round in Jacksonville when he finished in 13:40.43. Beadlescomb finished sixth overall with a time of 13:21.40, while Oregon’s Cooper Teare took the meet’s record time in his first place finish of 13:12.27. This was the second time Beadlescomb earned All-American honors, taking second-team in 2019 with a 13th place finish. He was the first Spartan to earn All-American honors in the 5,000 meters since Caleb Rhynard earned first-team All-American honors at the 2013 indoor championships with his third-place finish.
Saturday was the final day of the 2021 NCAA Championships, and Spartan Jenna Magness was the lone athlete competing in the day’s action. Magness also broke the school record in the 5,000 meters, but this one dated back to All-American Rachele Schulist’s 15:36.33 finish in 2015. Magness’s previous personal best was 15:38.82 she set at the Big Ten Championships, but she broke both in her fourth-place finish when she crossed the line in 15:32.91. Magness earned All-American first-team honors and came close behind N.C. State’s Elly Henes first-place finishing time of 15:28.05. Magness’s finish was the best by a Spartan at the NCAA Championship in the 5,000 meters since Emily MacLeod’s seventh-place finish in 2011.
The Spartans finished the season with the men ranked sixth (113.5 points) and the women ranked 11th (90.5 points) in the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) final standings. The men finished ranked the highest of any Big Ten program, and the women just behind Minnesota.