By Mayara Sanches
Last updated: 02/27/14 6:48pm
The men’s swimming and diving team placed ninth after the first day of this year’s Big Ten championships on Wednesday at the Canham Natatorium in Ann Arbor, Mich.
After competing in the two initial events of the three-day meet, the Spartans snagged 36 points. Head coach Matt Gianiodis told msuspartans.com that despite room for more improvement, his team did pretty good.
In the 200 medley relay – the first event – MSU placed 10th. The four-man relay team clocked a time of 1:28.29 minutes.
Senior Sam Schulze led the team in the event, and got a season-best 50-meter backstroke time of 22.47 seconds. Following on the relay were teammates freshman Alec Kandt, junior Kyle Workman and senior Bryan Williams.
For the second and final event of the day, Williams also competed with senior Pat Falconer, freshman Adam Marsh and senior Jacob Austermann. They competed on the 800-meter freestyle relay and recorded a time of 6:30.29 minutes.
Both events together put the Spartans in ninth. The team started competing at 11 a.m. Thursday — continuing the Big Ten championships — and were scheduled to have finals at 6:30 p.m. The events on the schedule were the 500-meter freestyle, 200-meter individual medley, 50-meter freestyle, 1-meter diving and the 400-meter medley relay.
The women’s swimming and diving Big Ten championships happened on Feb. 19 to 22 in Minneapolis, Minn. MSU finished in 11th with 87 points, the most since 2010.
Gianiodis told the website that the team met all the goals they had set. He said some women swam where they never had before and did well.
Sophomore Marina Borri broke the MSU 200-meter breaststroke record by almost three full seconds – and got a personal best – with a time of 2:14.42 minutes, putting her in 10th place.
Setting her second school record of the meet, senior Summer Strickler got a new career-best time of 49.97 seconds in the 100-meter freestyle prelims – placing 22nd. After achieving a career-best in the prelims, Strickler tied her previous career-best time of 50.31 seconds, good for 19th place.
In the 200-meter butterfly finals, junior Hannah Pugh and sophomore Elizabeth Brown finished in back-to-back spots, placing 19th and 20th.
Brown clocked a career-best in the preliminaries with a time of 2:00.82 seconds, but recorded a time of 2:01.44 minutes in the finals. Pugh recorded a career-best time of 2:01.19 minutes on the finals.
By Mayara Sanches
Last updated: 02/24/14 4:51pm
Concluding its indoor regular season, the men’s and women’s track & field teams competed in the Alex Wilson Invitational in South Bend, Ind. and in the Silverston Invitational in Ann Arbor, Mich.
In the Silverston Invite, redshirt junior Antonio James won two shot put events and the sprinters snagged the win in their races at the Alex Wilson Invite.
James earned his fifth individual weight throw win this season at the Silverston Invite by placing first, hitting the 21.03m/ 69-0 mark. Teammate Connor Kostrzewa, a redshirt sophomore, placed fourth, and redshirt freshman Vincent Gjokaj got sixth place.
James took first place with a throw of 18.79m/ 61-7¾. Spartan freshman Riley Norman placed sixth.
Hitting his personal-best mark of 4.77m/15-7¾, junior Tim Canfield got the individual win in the pole vault.
For the women’s team, junior Kassie Powell and redshirt freshman Jordan Keefe placed second and third. As for the shot put competition, the women’s did not do as well as the men’s team, with senior Chelsea Henderson placing eighth.
Redshirt freshman Connor Caporale — who ran the 400-meter dash — placed tenth in the men’s competition.
In South Bend, Ind., where the Alex Wilson Invite took place, the Spartans had more success — the sprinters had one individual win and three personal-best performances.
Jellissa Westney, a junior sprinter, got a season best time of 24.24 seconds. The time was good enough to win the 200-meter dash.
Westney’s teammate and sophomore Janae Hill placed fourth and posted a season-best time of 24.27 seconds. Freshman Lauren Rose’s time was 25.11 seconds — a personal-best that got her fifth place — while senior Jaelynn Pryor finished in sixth place with a time of 25.84 seconds.
Although Westney got a career-best time, the 7.55-second run in the 60-meter dash put her in fourth place overall.
Rose placed third and tied her season-best time of 8.52 seconds in the 60-meter hurdles.
Pryor recorded a time of 56.44 — placing eighth — on her first time competing in the 400-meter dash in 2014.
The Spartans closed the regular season with both invitationals, and will return to compete for the conference title at the Big Ten Indoor Championships with an all-day competition on Friday, Feb. 28 and Saturday, March 1 in Geneva, Ohio.
By Emily Jenks
Last updated: 02/23/14 7:26pm
The MSU baseball team surprised No. 1 Oregon State in Surprise, Ariz., defeating the Beavers 8-7 on Saturday.
The game began spectacularly with a grand slam from Ryan Krill, giving MSU a promising 4-0 lead in the top of the first inning. Krill also hit an RBI in the third inning, but Oregon had been plodding steadily, racking up two runs in the first two innings. They also had three runs in the third, tying the score at 5.
The eighth inning gave Oregon State a 7-6 lead, but the Spartans came through in the ninth to score twice and secure the win.
The Spartans would go on to lose to Washington 4-1 on Sunday afternoon, going 2-1 on the weekend.
While the men’s basketball team floundered against Michigan, Sunday brought victory to the softball team when they defeated Georgetown 8-2 the final game in the South Carolina Gamecock Invitational.
The team’s tournament slate also included a win over UNC-Wilmington and losses to Boston University and South Carolina.
Freshman pitcher Valerie Koff pitched her first career complete game, allowing Georgetown only five hits.
The first inning left the Spartans scoreless and two runs behind, but the team rallied behind big hits in the second inning to secure a 4-2 lead. Four errors from Georgetown throughout the game aided MSU’s victory.
The MSU softball team struggled early in the tournament, losing 11-4 to Boston University and 9-0 to host team South Carolina on Saturday.
Men’s and women’s tennis defended their home territory during games in East Lansing, both winning 6-1 in matches against Xavier and Milwaukee, respectively.
The men’s tennis team remains undefeated at home, with a 5-5 record overall, and women’s tennis continues to dominate with an 8-1 record overall and a 7-1 record at home. The Spartans were playing Wright State as of Sunday evening.
By Erik Sargent
Last updated: 02/18/14 4:48pm
It was a record setting weekend for the MSU women’s golf team as they finished third overall in the Central District Invitational, held at Cypress Links Course in Lakewood Ranch, Fla.
Sunny skies and 70-degree weather were the theme of the weekend as the Spartans hosted the tournament and finished third after shooting the lowest 54-hole score in school history with a 15-under 849. No. 15 Vanderbilt took first and No. 18 UCF placed second in the tournament.
MSU was able to set numerous records on the weekend, including the record for lowest team score in 18 holes (278) and lowest team score on 54 holes (849).
MSU was led by senior Allyssa Ferrell, who shot a 5-under 67 on Monday. That score matched the best round by an individual player in the history of the Spartan golf program.
Ferrell then followed up that record by setting the best 54-hole score for an individual in MSU history with a 9-under 207 as she tied for first in the Central District Invitational.
Ferrell wasn’t the only one to have a solid tournament for the Spartans. Seniors Christine Meier and Liz Nagel both were able to finish in the top ten after they both shot a 3-under 213, which tied them for 10th. The 54-hole total was a career-low for both golfers.
Freshman Kelly Grassel tied for 18th after shooting even par in the tournament (216) and junior Trisha Witherby tied for 47th place in the tournament with a final score of 9-over 225.
Junior Lindsey McPherson, who played as an individual, tied for 38th after shooting a career-low with 223.
The Spartans will return to action in Florida over spring break and will play in their next tournament on March 28-30 in Greensboro, N.C., in the Bryant National Collegiate.
By Erik Sargent
Last updated: 02/17/14 7:53pm
The MSU softball team was on the road in Tempe, Ariz., this weekend to face off in the Littlewood Classic but came up dry in its efforts, dropping all four games in the desert.
The tournament was held on the campus of Arizona State and the Spartans faced off against some quality competition, with games against San Jose State, SIU-Edwardsville, No. 3 Washington and No. 11 Oklahoma.
MSU started the weekend off against an undefeated San Jose State team, where a two-run fifth inning and a three-run sixth proved too much for the Spartans as they fell, 7-2. Freshman Lindsey Besson had two hits and scored a run and freshman Kassidy Kujawa drove in a run.
The next game for MSU was against SIU-Edwardsville, where the Spartans suffered a crushing 3-2 loss in nine innings. Kujawa added another RBI with a single to center field and junior Alyssa McBride drove in the other run for MSU.
On Saturday, the Spartans faced off with the Huskies, who are ranked No. 3 in the country. MSU was no match for the tough Washington squad as it lost 8-0.
Sunday wasn’t any easier for MSU, as it faced off with another ranked team when the Spartans took the field against the defending national champs, the 11th-ranked Oklahoma Sooners. The Spartans played much better against the Sooners, but fell 7-6 after a walk-off double in the seventh inning.
Freshman Sarah Gutknecht went 2-for-4 on the day with three RBIs. Junior Ellie Stoffer went 2-for-3 on the day and Carly Nielsen, Stephanie Sanders and Kujawa all added RBIs.
MSU fell to 2-5 on the season and will head to the South Carolina next weekend for a four-game tournament.
By Erik Sargent
Last updated: 02/12/14 3:10pm
The MSU softball team will head west this weekend to play in the Littlewood Classic, held in Tempe, Ariz., on the campus of Arizona State University.
For two Spartans, the trip will be a homecoming of sorts as freshman pitcher Valerie Kaff (Mesa, Ariz.) and sophomore infielder Destinee Luna (Surprise, Ariz.) both come from Arizona.
The Spartans will have a tough slate of games on hand this weekend. They will play five games over the weekend against SIU-Edwardsville, No. 11 Oklahoma, Illinois State, San Jose State and No. 3 Washington.
The team currently is 2-1 on the season, so this weekend will give them a chance to improve that record while also playing some quality competition.
MSU will look to improve off its solid offensive performance on opening weekend, which saw 10 of the 12 players who had an at-bat get a hit. Six of those batters recorded RBIs and the team hit four home runs in the opening weekend.
Freshman outfielder Kassidy Kujawa currently is third in the Big Ten in batting average and second in on-base percentage after going 4 for 7 on the weekend with four RBIs and two home runs.
Luna and junior outfielder Alyssa McBride both recorded three hits on the weekend as well.
The Spartans also received some solid pitching in their opening weekend, as senior pitcher Kelly Smith threw 11 innings, giving up only nine hits and striking out 14 batters. Kaff also had a good weekend throwing, getting her first win with a shutout performance against Rhode Island.
The first game for the Spartans will be played Friday at 3:30 pm against SIU-Edwardsville.
By Erik Sargent
Last updated: 02/10/14 3:19pm
It was a busy weekend for MSU athletics all across the board and the two tennis programs were no different, as both the men’s and women’s teams were in action.
The men’s tennis team traveled to Lexington, Ky., to take on the No. 17-ranked Kentucky Wildcats. The Spartans were looking for the team’s first win of the season against a ranked opponent but fell short, losing 4-1.
The Spartans weren’t able to clinch any points in the doubles matches and struggled to get anything going in singles matches as well.
The only point on the day came from Spartan senior Aaron Pfister in his singles match against No. 55-ranked Beck Pennington of the Wildcats. Pfister was able to clinch the win against Pennington, winning in straight sets, 6-2, 6-4.
The win was Pfister’s first victory over a ranked opponent in the dual season this year.
For the women’s tennis team, the weekend went a lot smoother, as the team was at home and they were able to perform a doubleheader sweep, winning 5-2 over Bowling Green and 7-0 against Oakland.
The Spartans didn’t get any points against Bowling Green in doubles matches but they finished strong in the singles sets. Marina Bohrer, Olga Chernova, Athena Trouillot and Julianne Gruber all won convincingly in straight sets. Catherine Parenteau won her match in a third-set tiebreak.
MSU was in complete control over Oakland, as the Spartans performed the sweep in total match time of just under two hours. They won all three matches to get the doubles point and won all six singles matches.
The men’s tennis team falls to 4-4 on the season while the women’s team improves to 6-1 on the season. The women’s tennis team has won four straight matches.
By Ben Stram
Last updated: 01/28/14 2:35pm
While the Michigan State men’s basketball team suffered a devastating loss to rival Michigan on Saturday, Michigan State had some success in other sports this past weekend.
On Saturday, both men’s and women’s track and field teams competed in the Notre Dame Invitational.
Both teams did very well, with the men’s team coming in first place with 179 points out of four teams.
The Spartan men were led by Kurt Schneider who earned an individual win in the long jump. Antonio James also helped lead MSU to a win on Saturday by winning the weight throw with the third-best mark in the NCAA this season.
While not winning the event, the women’s team tallied 173 points and fell just short of Notre Dame to place second at the event.
Aubrey Wilberding helped lead the Spartans by earning an individual win in the 800-meter run in a time of 2:11.76 and TeJuanna Williams also won the 200-meter dash with a time of 24.65 seconds.
Next weekend, the Spartans have a big meet against conference rival Michigan on Saturday at Grand Valley State University in Allendale, Mich.
The success fell short from there, though.
The No. 49 Michigan State men’s tennis team lost to No. 34 North Carolina State in straight sets on Sunday.
It has been a rough stretch for the men’s tennis team. After starting the season off with two wins, the team now has lost three matches in a row—all against teams that are ranked higher than the Spartans.
The three losses were on the road against No. 6 Tennessee No. 29 Notre Dame, and No. 34 NC State.
The Spartans will look to take a step in the right direction next Saturday for a doubleheader against Ball State at 12 p.m. and Eastern Illinois 6 p.m.
The Michigan State women’s tennis team also lost its first match of the season on Sunday, losing to Ball State 4-3 in East Lansing.
A week ago, the women’s tennis team swept its first two matches of the season against Toledo and Detroit. But Sunday, the Spartans came up just short.
MSU (2-1) won the doubles point, but lost four of the last six singles matches to fall to Ball State.
MSU continues its non-conference schedule next Friday as the team hosts Cleveland State at 3 p.m.
By Robert Bondy
Last updated: 01/16/14 5:34pm
Former MSU men’s soccer defender Kevin Cope made history Thursday when he was the eighth all-time Spartan drafted in the MLS SuperDraft by the Philadelphia Union. He was drafted 25th overall, the second-highest Spartan drafted all-time.
“When my name was called I was very excited,” Cope said in a press release. “Philadelphia is pretty thin at center back, so it’s a good fit for me. I’m going to do everything in my power to take advantage of this opportunity and make sure I’m physically and mentally ready. I’m very excited to be able to represent Michigan State.”
Cope was a three-time captain for MSU, helping the Spartans reach the NCAA Tournament the last two years. Despite missing five games, Cope recorded two goals and two assists on the season. Cope also was one of the biggest reasons MSU had the Big Ten’s lowest goals against per game average.
Cope was named a third-team All-American by National Soccer Coaches Association of American.
By Maya Sanches
Last updated: 01/15/14 5:11pm
Although women’s basketball is on a 5-game winning streak and the men’s basketball team is ranked 5th in the country, there are other Spartan sports’ seasons that are taking off and that fans should keep an eye on.
The MSU gymnastics team had their first meet on Friday when they lost to now no. 13 Illinois by only 1.2 points. MSU junior Alina Cartwright won the all-around title at the season opened. After the close meet, the team is now ranked 25th in the country. Their next meet is on Saturday against Pittsburgh.
Starting the season a little later than the gymnastics team, the women’s tennis team has its first match on Sunday against Toledo and Detroit. The team had an overall record of 11-16 for the 2012-13 season, but welcomes four new freshman players this season.
The men’s tennis team had a 14-14 record last season and has only two freshman. They started the indoor season victorious on Saturday, winning against Detroit Mercy and Toledo. They face Notre Dame in Indiana on Sunday.