Three Spartans Punch Their Tickets to NCAA Finals
Katelyn Daniels, Sophia Franklin and Max Benoit all advance.
TAMPA, Fla. – For the first time in her storied Michigan State career, redshirt-senior Katelyn Daniels will compete in the NCAA Finals in both the discus and the shot put after winning the discus at the NCAA East Preliminary Round in Tampa, Florida on Friday. Freshman Sophia Franklin and senior Max Benoit also advanced to the NCAA Finals.
Due to inclement weather in the area, most of the schedule was moved up several hours. The men’s discus started at 8:45 a.m., while the final event the women’s 3,000m steeplechase started at 8:40 p.m. There was also over an hour delay in the final flight of the women’s discus.
Franklin will advance to the NCAA Finals with a tremendous performance in the pole vault. She set a personal best with a vault of 4.18m. Her previous best was 4.11m at the Virginia Challenge earlier this season. Franklin finished tied for eighth, as the competition ended once there were 12 athletes remaining. The freshman follows in the footsteps of MSU pole vault record holder Hannah Sailor who reached the NCAA Final last season.
“I am a lot happier today than I was after the Big Ten meet. Being able to PR as a freshman is kind of crazy to me. I don’t think that it has sunk in yet. I was really excited when I cleared the bar, and really happy when they read my name. It feels really great. I was really focused and wanted it really bad,” Franklin said.
“You could really see her grinding today. The bar that she cleared to make it she had missed on her first jump, but she made it on her second attempt. You could really see the competitor come out. She was less of a pole vaulter and more of a competitor in that instance. It was outstanding to see her advance,” Director of Track & Field and Cross Country Walt Drenth said.
Winning the discus with a throw of 55.80m, Daniels punches her ticket to Eugene for the fourth-straight season. After the lengthy delay, she wasted no time, jumping into first with her first attempt. Last season, the senior was sixth in the discus in the NCAA Finals after landing fifth place and 13th finishes, respectively in 2016 and 2015. After finishing 10th overall in the shot put, Daniels will advance to the finals for the first time.
“It is awesome. I have never doubled at Nationals. Being able to do this my senior year is really emotional. This is my favorite sport, and these are my favorite people to be able to do this with. So this really means the world to me,” Daniels said.
“I think that the break that we had because of the weather was a good thing for her. It kind of calmed her down. After the break, I think that she went out with a good sense of purpose. She wasn’t as tense as she had been when she warmed up the first time. She hit that good mark early, and it kind of took the pressure off. It was fun to watch,” Drenth added.
In the men’s discus, freshman Jerimiah Evans narrowly missed the cut. After a foul on his first attempt, Evans recorded a 49.15m in his second throw. On his final heave, the freshman moved up with a throw of 53.12m, where he finished in 16th place.
Senior Max Benoit will advance to Eugene for the first time in his career with a personal-best time in the 3,000m steeplechase. Benoit earned the career-best time of 3:44.32, fighting to the finish with Eastern Kentucky’s Jamaine Coleman who finished first in the heat. Benoit was the runner up in the steeple at the Big Ten Championship.
“It is exciting to advance, but it is also a relief. I have been one of the first few out two out of four years. I am glad to get over the hump and advance to the next round. I am excited to get there in a few weeks and race against the best,” Benoit said.
“This has been a long time coming for Max. He has just missed a couple times, and has had exceptional races at this meet and just not made it. This time, he just took command of the race and battle it out with Coleman from Eastern Kentucky. It was really great to watch and sort of a relief with much less tension. He has been so relentless in his pursuit of this it has been fun to watch his maturity,” Drenth said.
Sophomore Winter Romeyn rebounded nicely after a tough Big Ten Championship. He had a personal-best time of 8:55.16. He finished 17th overall, passing his previous best of 8:55.58 at the Virginia Challenge earlier this season.
In the women’s 3,000m steeplechase, senior Bridget Blake had the 10th-fastest time with a career-best time of 10:03.18. She narrowly missed advancing to the NCAA Finals, as she was the first one out with three qualifying on time ahead of her. Sophomore Karrigan Smith was 27th with a time of 10:25.49.
Sophomore Jonathan Fife finished the men’s 200m with a time of 21.50, finishing 47th. In the men’s 110m hurdles, junior Will Agodu fell and was unable to finish the race.
The Spartans conclude action at the NCAA East Prelims on Saturday, May 26. In field action, senior Max Knoblock will open the javelin competition at 1:30 p.m. On the track, redshirt-junior Justin Kiprotich will be the first Spartan runner in action in the final of the men’s 1,500m at 1:30 p.m.
Michigan State Results
Women’s Pole Vault (Saturday)
t-8. Sophia Franklin / 5.18m
Men’s Discus (Saturday)
16. Jerimiah Evans / 53.12m
Men’s 110m hurdles (Saturday)
Will Agodu – DNF
Men’s 200m (Saturday)
47. Jonathan Fife / 53.12m
Women’s Discus (Saturday)
1. Katelyn Daniels / 55.80m
Men’s 3,000m (Saturday)
5. Max Benoit / 8:44.32
17. Winter Romeyn / 8:55.16
Women’s 3,000m (Saturday)
10. Bridget Blake / 10:03.18
27. Karrigan Smith / 10:25.49
Men’s Hammer (Friday)
34. Nick Kramer / 59.81m
Men’s Pole Vault (Friday)
33. Noah Gary / 4.85m
Women’s 400m Hurdles – Prelims (Friday)
25. Taylor Mullins / 59.76 (PR)
Men’s 1,500 (Friday)
2. Justine Kiprotich / 3:45.62
Women’s 1,500m (Friday)
20. Dillon McClintock / 4:20.41
Women’s Javelin (Friday)
23. Jade Madison / 46.11m
Women’s High Jump (Friday)
34. Ellen DiPietro / 1.70m
Women’s Shot Put (Friday)
10. Katelyn Daniels / 16.31m
36. Kayli Johnson / 15.01m
Men’s 10,000m (Friday)
37. Clark Ruiz / 30:57.63
38. Jesse Hersha / 30:57.64
Women’s 10,000m (Friday)
26. Lynsie Gram / 35:17.20
34. Amber Way / 36:06.48