MSU begins competition in Bloomington, Ind., on Thursday, May 26. Photo courtesy of MSU SID.

EAST LANSING, Mich. – The Michigan State track & field program had 28 individuals accepted for the preliminary rounds of the NCAA Track & Field Championships, as announced this afternoon (May 19) by the NCAA. The Spartans are set to open NCAA action a week from today on Thursday, May 26 in Bloomington, Ind., when it travels to Indiana University for the NCAA Opening Rounds. Action begins at 11 a.m. on Thursday, and continues through Saturday, May 28.

In order to qualify for the NCAA Opening Rounds, individuals must be ranked in the top-48 in their respective region. The team’s 28 qualifiers are the most MSU has had qualify for the NCAA Regionals since the format was introduced in 2003, breaking last year’s record by two individuals.

For the men, 16 individuals will be traveling to Indiana for the NCAA Opening Rounds. Senior Yury Ratomski is the lone male sprinter for MSU as he qualified 41st overall in the 400m dash with a season-best time of 47.25.

The male throwers comprise the biggest group as they are made up of six individuals throwing in seven events. Leading the charge is senior Anthony Agrusa who will be making his fourth-straight appearance. Agrusa earned a bid in the hammer throw as he ranks 13th regionally with a 62.25m mark. National qualifier sophomore Lonnie Pugh returns to the NCAA Opening Rounds as he has earned a spot in both the discus and hammer throw events. Pugh ranks 17th in the discus (54.65m) and 12th in the hammer (62.82m). Pugh is the school-record holder in both events.

Juniors Aaron Ide, Brad Wentzel and Jay Gillespie will join Agrusa and Pugh in Indiana. Ide will represent the Spartans in the shot put, ranking 47th in the region with a 16.85m mark. For Wentzel and Gillespie, they will both represent the Green and White in the hammer throw with marks of 59.30m and 58.43m, respectively. Wentzel is 27th regionally and Gillespie is 44th.

Freshman Zack Hill rounds out the throwers, ranking eighth in the shot put with a season-best toss of 18.22m.

MSU will be represented by five male jumpers at the NCAA Regionals. Junior Kevin Jackson was accepted in the high jump with a 2.10m mark. Joining Jackson with identical marks in the high jump is classmate Cliff Miller and sophomore Kurt Schneider. Jackson, Miller and Schneider were three of 11 individuals who posted 2.10m marks on the season.

In the pole vault, the Spartans have placed sophomore Codi Mattix and freshman Derik Peterman into the competition. Mattix is currently 22nd with a 5.13m mark and Peterman is 42nd with a 5.03m height.

Just like the jumpers, the male distance runners have placed five individuals into the NCAA Opening Rounds. Senior Patrick Grosskopf leads the way as he is 14th regionally in the 10,000m run with a time of 29:40.03. Classmate Spencer Beatty is 25th in the 3,000m steeplechase, turning in a time of 8:55.56. Beatty is joined by junior Aaron Simoneau in the steeplechase as Simoneau is 19th with an 8:52.88 mark.

Sophomore Josh McAlary makes his second-straight appearance in the 1,500m run, ranking 37th regionally with a 3:46.65 season-best time.

The women qualified 12 individuals for the NCAA Opening Rounds next weekend. The women are highlighted by senior Emily MacLeod who is ranked second in the region in the 5,000m run with a time of 16:00.40. This will mark MacLeod’s fourth trip to the NCAA Regionals.

Joining MacLeod in the 5,000m run will be junior Carlie Green with her 25th-best mark of 16:25.74. Junior Tiffany Evans and sophomore Katie Haines round out the female distance runners for the Spartans. Evans was accepted in the 3,000m steeplechase with a time of 10:35.19 (43rd) while Haines will compete in the 10,000m run with a career-best 35:27.92 mark (42nd).

Junior Leslie Aririguzo and freshman Jaelynn Pryor will both compete as the lone hurdlers for MSU in Indiana. Aririguzo will make her third appearance as she was accepted in the 100m hurdles with a time of 13.51, good enough for 28th regionally. Pryor makes her debut in the 400m hurdles with the 41st-best time of 59.84.

The female jumpers and throwers have qualified three individuals in four events, each. For the jumpers, junior Becca Buchholtz leads all jumpers as she is sixth regionally in the high jump with a school-record mark of 1.82m, set at the Big Ten Championships last weekend.

Senior Ashley Smith is the most experience jumper as she is making her third appearance in the women’s pole vault. Smith qualified 47th regionally as she posted a season-best 3.86m height.

Freshman Ashley Stacey rounds out the jumpers as she qualified in both the triple jump and the long jump. In the long jump, Stacey’s best regional mark, she is 16th with a distance of 6.24m while she is 44th in the triple jump (12.48m).

Senior Ashley Lawrence leads a pair of sophomore throwers with her 20th-best discus mark of 50.91m.

Sophomore Beth Rohl leads all throwers as she is 2-for-2 in terms of qualifying for the discus and hammer throw in her career. In what will be her second appearance at the NCAA Opening Rounds, Rohl is currently third in the discus with a school record 55.94m mark. In the hammer throw, Rohl is 11th with a school-record distance of 60.28m.

Sophomore Shatora Lewis rounds out MSU’s competitors next weekend as she is 40th in the shot put. Lewis has a season-best mark of 14.93m entering the competition.