Quick Hits: GVSU track takes home regional awards

Lanthorn Staff

Baltes, Thornton take home regional awards

Grand Valley State head coach Jerry Baltes was named the track and field Midwest Region Women’s Head Coach of the Year, and Darien Thornton was named the Midwest Region Men’s Field Athlete of the Year by the USTFCCCA national office in New Orleans.

Baltes, in his 17th year as head coach, has now won Coach of the Year honors 13 times overall. Under his guidance, the Lakers have 17 consecutive GLIAC indoor track and field championships. The Lakers were nationally ranked in the top five all season, and placed third (women’s) and fifth (men’s) at this year’s Division II national championship meet.

Thornton has distinguished himself as one of the best in the weight throw in Division II history. At the GVSU Mike Lints Alumni Open on Jan. 31, he recorded a school record with a 22.42-meter throw. It was the top mark in the Division II for this season, and third all-time.

A complete list of the awards given out can be found at www.ustfccca.org.

GVSU wrestling named runner-ups

Grand Valley State’s club wrestling placed second at the NCWA national tournament in Orlando, Florida from March 10-12, and several Lakers walked away with individual honors in the biggest meet of the year.

Zack Cooper won an individual championship and was named the tournament’s most outstanding wrestler. Austin Geerlings finished second in his weight class, while Mitch Hrnyak and Bailey Bischer both placed third in their respective weight classes.

Gabe Stepanovich and Harun Bogdanic both had fifth-place finishes, Brendan Hazelton placed sixth in his weight class and Eric Dietz had an eighth-place finish.

It was the last scheduled meet of the season, according to the team’s official site.

Equestrian club captain to compete at nationals

Grand Valley State stock equestrian club captain Michelle McDowell has been invited to participate at the Intercollegiate Horse Show Association (IHSA) nationals from May 5-8 at the Kentucky Horse Park in Lexington, Kentucky.

McDowell, a junior, will enter the competition as the American Quarter Horse Association (AQHA) High Point Cup Rider. The honor was given to her after she was the top point-getter at the state competition for Zone 6, Region 4.

McDowell was a key cog in the GVSU equestrian club that has had a very successful season thus far. The team is coming off of a regional championship win, and will participate at the IHSA semifinals at Blackhawk College in Morris, Illinois on March 19-20.

McDowell will be riding at the semifinals for GVSU and individually, in both western horsemanship and reining.