GVSU track team keeps pace at separate meets

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In the process of enjoying mild weather for the first time this season, the Grand Valley State University outdoor track team split in two, with the field events heading to Miami (Ohio) University for the Miami Invitational and the rest of the team competing at the Bulldog Invitational at Ferris State University on April 9 and 10.

At the Miami Invitational with the field competitors, everything went just right, said GVSU throws coach Cory Young.

“Coming off of our indoor season, I knew they were going to do well this weekend,” he said. “To have the nice weather and decent completion, I think we are starting to build something really special.”

Freshman Liz Murphy led the women with a first place finish in the hammer throw, recording a mark of 186 feet, 6 inches, which automatically qualified her for the NCAA Outdoor Nationals.

Freshman Sam Lockhart took first place in the discus with a throw of 153-4 as well as a second place in the shot put behind GVSU junior Lauren Buresh, who won with a throw of 49-10. Senior Maegan Doyen also won the high jump.

On the men’s side, sophomore Matt Armstrong won the shot put with a throw of 55-10 3/4. Freshman Donny Stiffler took second with a mark of 53-11 1/4.

Buresh said the team’s early success can be attributed to its commitment to working hard in practice.

“We had some huge (personal bests), so we really surprised ourselves with how well we actually did,” Buresh said. “I think it’s great that the whole team is working hard because that means we just push each other more in practice and that energy carries on to each individual on the team.”

The rest of the team headed to Ferris State, which was more of a tune up for future events, said GVSU head coach Jerry Baltes.

“Today got us ready for our trip out to California, and we had some nice things happen,” he said. “We still have some work to do, and hopefully we can get some perfect days on race day in the next few weeks and get ready to rock and roll.”

Leading the Lakers on the women’s side was junior Jessie Vickers, who won the 3,000-meter steeple chase with a time of 11 minutes, 9.53 seconds. Vickars normally runs in the 5,000 or 10,000 meter events.

“(Vickers) hasn’t run the steeple chase in two years, so we put her in there and she went out and ran a national qualifying provisional mark,” Baltes said. “She should be in the position to hopefully run a little faster the next few weeks and put herself in the national meet.”

In other events, senior Candice Wheat won the 100 hurdles with a provisionally qualifying time of 14.51 seconds. Junior Kayla Vallar and sophomore Serena Black finished one-two in the 200, senior Danielle Fonseca won the 400 and freshman Kaleigh Carlson won the 800.

On the men’s side, junior Troy Rock finished second in the 400 with a time of 49.62 seconds.

While the season is in its early stages, sophomore Austin Brown said there is still a lot of work left.

“Obviously we are excited coming off of the indoor season and getting the GLIAC championship, but by no means are we satisfied,” he said. “We know what we have to do, we are focused, we realize nothing is going to be handed to us and we have to work our butts off from here.”

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