EAST LANSING, Mich. - The Michigan State women’s track & field team swept the Big Ten weekly honors as redshirt sophomore Leah O’Connor was named Track Athlete of the Week and redshirt senior Beth Rohl was named Field Athlete of the Week, as announced by the conference office on Monday, Jan. 28. The Spartans competed in dual meet against Michigan at Grand Valley State University’s Kelly Family Sports Center on Saturday, Jan. 26. The meet marked the first time the two schools competed head-to-head since 1976.
This past weekend, O’Connor broke the facility, school and her personal record as she took home an individual win in the one-mile run with a time of 4:40.41. Her record-breaking time puts her at first in the Big Ten and 10th in the NCAA this season. She also placed second in the 800-meter run, posting a time of 2:09.61. This is the first weekly conference laurel of her career. The last Michigan State track athlete of the week was Charelise Davis on Feb. 23, 2009.
“It’s a great honor,” said director of track & field/cross country Walt Drenth. “I was looking through the Big Ten results this past weekend and there were some tremendous athletes. For her to be chosen amongst that pool of athletes speaks volumes to her talent. The things that struck me during the competition on Saturday was her willingness to engage. She was looking for ways to find out how good she could be. I’m really proud of her. I don’t think this will be the last time she wins this award, but if it is, she earned it and she is going to keep getting better.”
Rohl receives the Field Athlete of the Week honor from the Big Ten for the second-straight week. She broke her own school record in the weight throw, winning the event with a personal-best mark of 21.40m/ 70-2. She is currently ranks third in the country in the weight throw this season. Beth took home another individual win in the shot put with a first-place mark of 14.11m/ 46-3½. She earns the third indoor track & field award of her career and second this season.
“I have enormous faith in Coach Newell and his ability to have the right people compete at the right time,” Drenth said. “I think that Beth’s success is a product of a lot of things. She’s talented. She probably had her best fall season of training. This sort of thing happens to fifth-year seniors who pay their dues and keep working at it.
“I also think that at the meet that we were at on Saturday brings out the best in people. There was purpose to the meet. It was a great competition. I think both Beth and Leah speak to the importance of rallying around a good team and having the team be successful. You see a lot of great performances when there is something on the line that is for the good of the whole. I think in this instance, they both answered the bill.”
The Spartans will be back in action for a return to South Bend, Ind., for the Notre Dame Meyo Invitational on Feb. 1-2.