The National Field Hockey Coaches Association (NFHCA) has announced its 2014 Preseason Poll, and Michigan State ranks 16th in the nation to start the year. The Spartans look to build on the 2013 season that included a Big Ten Tournament Championship and run to the Elite 8.
"Coming off of a successful 2013 campaign, we are looking to carry that momentum with us into 2014," said head coach Helen Knull. "Being recognized and ranked in the preseason top 20 is great for not only Michigan State, but also the Big Ten. However, we have to take each game at a time and stay focused. Where you finish the season is far more important than where you start. We are just excited to kick things off on Friday and officially begin the 2014 season."
The Spartans are scheduled to play eight of the 20 teams that appear on the preseason poll. Six Big Ten teams are ranked to start the season, including Maryland (1st), Penn State (8th), Northwestern (14th), Michigan (17th), and Iowa (20th).
Preseason AP Standing Puts Spartan Football in Top 10
After a record-breaking season in 2013 that featured 13 wins and Rose Bowl and Big Ten Championships, Michigan State enters 2014 ranked No. 8 in the Preseason Associated Press Poll, released last month. It marks MSU's highest preseason ranking in the AP Poll since 1967 (No. 3).
It also marks the Spartans' 14th appearance in the Preseason AP Top 10: No. 10 in 1979, No. 3 in 1967, No. 2 in 1966, No. 4 in 1962, No. 6 in 1961, No. 8 in 1960, No. 4 in 1958, No. 3 in 1957, No. 2 in 1956, No. 4 in 1954, No. 2 in 1953, No. 1 in 1952 and No. 2 in 1951. Since 1950, Michigan State has appeared in the Preseason AP Poll 28 times.
Women’s Track & Field, Cross Country Win National Recognition
The Michigan State women's cross country and track & field programs finished the 2013-14 academic year ranked No. 8 in the USTFCCCA/Terry Crawford Women's Division I Program of the Year standings. It was the highest standing for the program since the awards inaugural year in 2009.
"This is great reinforcement of our goal to be a balanced competitive program at the national level," said Michigan State Director of Track & Field and Cross Country Walt Drenth. "This is the fourth-straight year we have been recognized for scoring in all three of our NCAA Championships. The credit goes to the student-athletes who have bought into our vision for the program, and in no small part an indication of the effort of an excellent staff."
Spartan Hitter Makes All-America Team
Michigan State's Blaise Salter has been named to the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association All-America Team last summer. Salter was voted to the third team as a designated hitter.
Additionally, Salter was voted to the American Baseball Coaches Association All-Mideast Region Second Team.
"It's definitely an honor to be included in this group," said Salter. "It's great to be recognized and I want to thank the coaches and my teammates as they're the ones that made it possible."
Salter was one of the Big Ten's most feared offensive threats in 2014 as the designated hitter was named to the All-Big Ten Second Team. He ranked first in the Big Ten in doubles (22), third in RBIs (50), fourth in slugging percentage (.484), fifth in total bases (107) and tied for sixth in home runs (five).
The native of Bloomfield Hills was voted the winner of the team's John Kobs Most Valuable Player and Kirk Gibson Offensive Player of the Year awards.