URBANA, Ill. - The Michigan State track & field teams finished day two of competition at the 2008 Big Ten Outdoor Track & Field Championships, hosted by the University of Illinois on Saturday afternoon. Red-shirt freshman Anthony Agrusa put on an impressive display for the Spartans, crushing his personal-best mark of 49.36m (161-11) by more than three meters, with a regional-qualifying launch of 52.53m (172-4) in the discus throw. Agrusa finished in third place overall, while putting up six points for the Michigan State men. His performance breaks the school record of 51.84m (171-1) set by former Spartan Steve Manz in 2004.
"Anthony had an unbelievable day," said MSU throws coach John Newell. "Just to make the finals as a freshman is great. He did that, plus set a new personal best by a lot, and on top of all that, he broke the school record. So it was a big day for him and he did a great job for us."
The Spartan relay teams ran well for the Spartans in day two, as both the men and women's teams qualified for tomorrow's finals. The women's team of seniors Jackie Walton and Paris Mandy, junior Tricia Kowalski and freshman Erica Mann ran their way to a regional-qualifying time of 45.54, placing fifth in the 4x100m relay. On the men's side, juniors Keith Hewlett and Michael Smoot, sophomore Jake Hamilton and freshman Yury Ratomski took the last spot for tomorrow's 4x100m relay finals, finishing eighth with a time of 41.77.
The Spartan women saw many impressive performances as well on Saturday afternoon. Mann qualfied for Sunday's finals, as she finished in seventh-place in the 100m prelims with a time of 11.75. The senior women also stepped up in day two for the green and white, as Walton hit a regional-qualifying mark in the 100m hurdles, placing fifth with a time of 13.46. Lisa Senakiewich finished in second place in heat three of the 1500m prelims, qualifying for the finals with a time of 4:28.36.
In the women's 3,000m steeplechase junior Sarah Price scored a point for Michigan State, finishing eighth with a regional-qualifying mark of 10:43.28.
For the women's throws teams, freshman Ashley Lawrence claimed a career-best day, finishing 11th with a personal best of 14.12m (46-4), almost two-feet further than her previous personal-best set at this year's Gina Relays (4/25). Zoe Pelbart also turned in a strong performance in the javelin, scoring four points for the women's team, as she finished in fifth place with a personal-best throw of 48.99m (160-9). Pelbart encountered tough competition in this year's javelin, as first-place finisher Kara Patterson of Purdue had a launch of 61.55m (202-0), which ranks not only the longest throw in Big Ten Championships history, but the ninth-longest throw in the world this year.
Freshman Kris Amos did his part to put points on the board for the Spartan men, finishing sixth in the high jump with a personal-best of 2.07m (6-9 1/2).
In addition to their help on the 4x100m relay team, Smoot qualified for finals action in the 400m as well, coming in sixth overall with a time of 47.28, while Hamilton qualified for Sunday's finals in the 400m hurdles, finishing the prelims in eight place, crossing the finish line at 53.21.
The MSU women sit in ninth place after day two with 12 points, while the men's squad is currently in 10th place with a total of 11 points.
"Anthony had a great competition in the discus today," said MSU Director of Track & Field Walt Drenth. "He really exemplifies what our team is all about, and that is putting our heart into what we are doing, and going out and competing. We had some strong performances today, and I'm optimistic about our chances tomorrow. We've got a long way to go, but we have a lot of people through to the finals tomorrow and that's where you want to be. That is the key to finishing strong."
Day three of the Big Ten Championships begins tomorrow with the women's triple jump at 12 p.m. ET.