Kiprotich Earns Second-Straight First-Team All-American Honor
The junior finishes seventh in the 1,500m, while senior Benoit is 11th in the steeple.
EUGENE, Ore. – Michigan State’s men concluded action at the NCAA Track & Field Championships with two more All-Americans on Friday at Historic Hayward Field in Eugene, Oregon. Junior Justine Kiprotich finished seventh in the 1,500m, while senior Max Benoit was 11th in the 3,000m steeplechase.
It was a great day for the Big Ten as Penn State’s Isaiah Harris won the 800, Wisconsin’s Oliver Hoare won the 1,500 and Minnesota’s Obsa Ali captured the 3,000m steeplechase. On Wednesday, Michigan’s Ben Flanagan also captured the 10,000m.
“I keep hearing people talk about how well Big Ten distance running has been doing, and it is true,” Director of Track & Field and Cross Country Walt Drenth said. “I told Justine on the way over here you were a half step away from beating Oliver at the conference meet. That is the sort of thing you have to hang your hat on. It also bodes well for the conference moving forward.”
For the second-straight season, Kiprotich captured first-team All-American honors, finishing seventh in the 1,500 with a time of 3:45.75. In a very aggressive and physical race, Kiprotich climbed his way up the pack, eventually taking the lead in the bell lap. Hoare came on strong at the end to take the title. Last season, Kiprotich was the NCAA runner-up.
“It was going well today until the last 200. It was not what I wanted, but I am going to be happy about it for now,” Kiprotich said. “I am going to just train harder next year and get better with preparation for sure. I do want more from myself, and we are going to work on that pretty much starting tomorrow.”
“I just don’t think Justine had that final gear today,” Drenth said. “I was watching the replay on the videoboard and it looked like he was fourth with about nine meters to go. It wasn’t a bad race; this was just a heck of a field. It has been a while since there have been this many true milers. There are some guys that can really finish. He learned a lot; I learned a lot. There were a lot of things that were really positive, but I know that he is disappointed.”
Benoit had a solid final race in the Green and White. In a very fast 3,000m steeplechase final, he finished 11th with a time of 8:47.15. In his first appearance in an NCAA final, he earned second-team All-American honors. The senior became Michigan State’s first All-American in the men’s steeplechase since Henry Kennedy in 1956.
“It went out hard which is kind of what I expected. I got stuck in the middle of the pack, and kind of got bumped around. I couldn’t get a very good rhythm, but I ran as hard as I could. I have had the best five years of my life here, and I have had incredible teammates and friends. I can’t thank people enough from the coaches, to my parents, to my fast teammates that ran with me,” Benoit said.
“It is hard when you have seniors that you have grown really close to, and they do all the things that you have asked them to do throughout their career,” Drenth said. “The thing that I can say without hesitation is that was all that Max had today. You have to be proud of those kind of efforts. It was a pretty physical race and not one that he was used to. He got banged around a little bit, and it kind of threw him off this rhythm. I am so proud of him and so proud of his effort.”
Georgia captured the men’s team title with 52 points, while the Spartans finished tied for 27th with five points. Twelve of the 13 Big Ten teams that have track & field teams scored at least one point.
The Spartans will conclude the 2018 NCAA Championships on Saturday, June 8. The final day of action will include senior Katelyn Daniels in the discus and sophomore Dillon McClintock in the finals of the 1,500m.
Michigan State Results
Men’s 1,500m – Final (Friday)
7. Justine Kiprotich / 3:45.75
Men’s 3,000m Steeplechase – Final (Friday)
11. Max Benoit / 8:47.15
6. Tim Ehrhardt / 7,736 points
100m – 10.87
6. Tim Ehrhardt / 7,736 points
100m – 10.87
long jump – 7.43m
shot put – 12.73m
high jump – 2.01m
400m – 49.67
110m hurdles – 15.90
discus – 33.61m
pole vault – 5.01m
javelin – 50.59m
1,500m – 4:27.35
10. Nick Guerrant/ 7,619 points
100m – 10.90
long jump – 7.16m
shot put – 12.56m
high jump – 1.98m
400m – 47.92
110m hurdles – 15.11
discus – 43.29m
pole vault – 4.41m
javelin – 55.48m
1,500m – 4:43.80
Women’s 1,500 – Prelims (Thursday)
4 (heat 2). Dillon McClintock / 4:15.35 points
Women’s Pole Vault (Thursday)
18. Sophia Franklin /4.00m
Women’s Shot Put (Thursday)
20. Katelyn Daniels /15.52m
Men’s 1,500m – Prelims (Wednesday)
5 (heat 2). Justine Kiprotich / 3:50.53
Men’s 3,000m Steeplechase – Prelims (Wednesday)
5 (heat 2). Max Benoit / 8:44.94