EAST LANSING, Mich. – Redshirt senior Josh McAlary ran a career-best time in the mile at the Notre Dame Alex Wilson Invitational on Saturday in South Bend, Ind. Also competing at the “last chance” meet to qualify for the NCAA Indoor Championships was redshirt senior Joe Banyai and the women’s 4x400-meter relay.
“I thought we did a pretty good job of coming back after a pretty emotional meet at the conference championship,” said director of track & field/cross country Walt Drenth. “The people who are here earned the right to compete at a national-level meet. I thought they did a pretty nice job of engaging with the competition.”
Redshirt senior Joe Banyai posted a time of 1:50.21 to place 19th overall in the finals of the 800-meter run.
“Joe’s been fighting something off, but he still ran his second-best time of the year,” Drenth said. “He earned the right to run in the race today and engaged with the competition, he just needed to go a little faster in order to qualify for nationals.”
Crossing the finish line in a career-best time in the mile, redshirt senior Josh McAlary recorded a time of 4:00.46 to finish sixth overall.
“I thought Josh ran a tactically-sound race right up until the 50 meters where he needed to make an aggressive decision that might have made the difference in the race. The field looked really fast. He had all the momentum in the race when he caught up with the group. He chose an inside spot and the race kind of bogged down in front of him. So when they started to pick up again with about 150 meters left, he had to get of where he was and get his momentum back. He just couldn’t get by everybody. He’s made progress and he’s healthy coming out of indoors so I’m excited for where he’s going to be when we get to outdoors.”
In the last event of the day, the women’s 4x400-meter relay turned in a top-10 finish with a time of 3:39.04. The team of sophomores Jellisa Westney, Tori Franklin, Jaelynn Pryor and redshirt senior Alysson Bodenbach placed seventh overall.
“With the women, I thought they brought decent energy,” said Drenth. “We needed to run a lot faster. It looks like it is going to be a 3:34 time to qualify for nationals and we ran a 3:39. It is a pretty solid group outside of Aly(sson) Bodenbach, and last year they did not want to race. This year, they wanted to run and I think that experience of seeing how the whole thing gets amped up even from where conference meet is in terms of intensity and the requirements to run fast will give them a real good sense of what they need to do in the outdoor season.”
This week, the Spartans will declare student-athletes for the 2013 NCAA Indoor Track & Field Championships to be held on March 8 and 9 in Fayetteville, Ark.