WOMEN’S GOLF TEAM SUSTAINS STREAK
The MSU women’s golf team won its third Big Ten title in four years, tying with Ohio State in French Lick, IN, at the Big Ten Championships on April 27. They earned a berth in the NCAA Regionals for the 16th consecutive year and made it to the finals for the third straight season. “We're very proud of our streak and want to keep it going as long as possible,” says Head Coach Stacy Slobodnik-Stoll. MSU received the automatic bid to the NCAA by winning the tiebreaker with Ohio State – the lowest cumulative score for all six golfers (only four are counted for the tournament). The Spartans are led by a trio of seniors: Allyssa Ferrell, Christine Meier and Liz Nagel, and were No. 27 in the Golfweek/Sagarin rankings. Slobodnik-Stoll has won a total of 33 tournaments since taking over the program in 1997.
NFL KNOWS SPARTANS WILL
MSU senior cornerback Darqueze Dennard, a consensus first-team All-American and 2013 Jim Thorpe Award winner, was selected by the Cincinnati Bengals in the first round of the NFL draft (No. 24 overall), becoming the 34th Spartan to be a first-round selection. Since the inception of the NFL Draft in 1967, MSU has had at least one player chosen every year. A native of Dry Branch, GA, Dennard was this season’s Tatum-Woodson Big Ten Defensive Back of the Year and a unanimous first-team All-Big Ten pick by the coaches. Dennard was one of the main reasons MSU was No. 1 in the NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision in pass efficiency defense (92.3 rating), No. 2 in total defense (252.2 ypg.) and No. 3 in pass defense (165.6 ypg.). Dennard graduated from Michigan State with a 3.66 GPA in May.
SPARTAN FOOTBALL TO TREK WEST
MSU inked a home-and-home football series with Arizona State in 2018 and 2019. The Spartans will play in Sun Devil Stadium in Tempe on Sept. 8, 2018, while ASU will come to Spartan Stadium on Sept. 14, 2019. “The Arizona State series provides MSU alums in the West and Southwest with an opportunity to see the Spartans compete against one of the Pac-12’s top football programs,” says Mark Hollis, MSU athletics director. Hollis says there are some historical ties between the programs by way of Frank Kush, Darryl Rogers, Dick Tamburo and Chuck Fairbanks. MSU and ASU have played twice, with the Spartans winning at home in 1985 and the Sun Devils winning in Tempe in 1986. MSU last played in Sun Devil Stadium in 2012, when MSU beat TCU in the Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl.
O’CONNOR WINS THIRD CHAMPIONSHIP
Junior track star Leah O’Connor won her third Big Ten title in the 3,000-meter steeplechase at Purdue University, site of this year’s conference championship. She took a commanding lead right out the gate and crossed the finish line in 10:06.10. “She's the best steepler in the conference, if not one of the best in the country,” says Head Coach Walt Drenth. In addition, redshirt senior Kurt Schneider won the silver medal in the decathlon with a personal record of 7,431 points. Junior Tim Canfield won a bronze medal in the pole vault with a personal-best mark of 5.20m/ 17-0¾. Redshirt junior Antonio James took bronze in the discus, winning his fourth Big Ten medal of his career.