Lakers track & field reaches midway point after GVSU Open and Can-Am International

GVSU open 1-25-19. Dan Pacheco/GVL

GVSU open 1-25-19. Dan Pacheco/GVL

Jerod Fattal

The Grand Valley State men’s and women’s track and field teams produced winning times, distances and heights in the GVSU Open and Cam-Am International on Friday, Jan. 26 and Saturday, Jan. 27. 

The GVSU Open was held at the Kelly Family Sports Center, giving the athletes a chance to compete in front of a home crowd and the Lakers did not disappoint. 

Rachel Webb, Abby Crouch and Sarah Rustman all finished within one second of each other in the 800M with times ranging from 2:15.18 to 2:15.56, finishing third, fourth and fifth, respectively.  

“It was a very competitive race and all three did a nice job handling the situation and competing,” said coach Jerry Baltes. “Today’s race is going to set them up to run well in a couple weeks.” 

The bulk of the women’s team’s points were earned in the infield, where they combined to take first place in four of the six events. Pole vault nearly swept their event, with Ellianne Kimes finishing first with a jump of 3.86M. 

“Our pole vault crew jumped pretty darn well for just their second meet of the year,” Baltes said. First-place finishes were also present in the weight throw, where Bobbie Goodwin won the event with a throw of 17.71M, with GVSU earning five of the top six spots. 

“Our throws crew is in a good spot and I think we are going to see some improvements in the upcoming weeks,” Baltes said. 

The women’s jumping events were headlined by Angelica Floyd and Tabor Gleason’s first-place finishes in the long jump and high jump, along with Alex Reeves bronze finish in the triple jump. 

The men’s team began the meet with Tyler Kirkwood and Devyn Brass (8.59) taking third and seventh place in the 60M hurdles. 

“(Kirkwood) put together a complete race and had a very solid performance,” Baltes said. 

In the 800M run, John Groendyk, Derrick Egli, Jordan Pattison, Matt McLaughlin and Jacob Domagalski all finished in the top eight, with David Jones (1:52.35) winning the event. 

“(Jones) is just getting back into the swing of things and we almost didn’t run him, and then he goes out and wins the dang thing,” Baltes said.

The distance crew had a strong showing all day with Jesse Becker, Ben Zaremba and Bennett Peterson finishing strong in the 3000M run, claiming second, third, and eighth places. 

Justin Scavarda led the way for the Lakers with a first and second place finish in the weight throw and shot put, with distances of 18.18M and 16.35M. The team also took the gold medal in the pole vault, where Jacob Battani cleared 4.92M. 

With two meets on back-to-back days, rest is an important factor at this point in the season, as both the men’s and women’s teams rested athletes in the Can-Am International Meet, even though the road trip was still important to the program. 

“We wanted to get out of our comfort zone,” Baltes said. “So that when we get to Saginaw for the conference meet, it’s not freak out mode.”  

The meet began featured impressive performances in the men’s throwing events from Justin Scavarda, who finished second in the shot put and fourth in the weight throw. Alexis Duncan headlined the women’s jumping events in the women’s long jump with a jump of 5.70M, earning her a second-place finish. In her freshman debut in the women’s triple jump, Anna Obi jumped 11.54M, earning fourth-place for the Lakers. 

Sprinter Jordan Johnson swept both the men’s 60M and 200M dash with times of 6.86 and 22.22 seconds. The meet finished with the men’s 4 X 400M team of Andrew Mcfarland, Jaylen Hasan, Daniel Walker, and Thomas Capers taking first place with a time of 3:18.20 seconds. 

The Lakers had a strong day, but Baltes said the highlight of the event was Floyd finishing in fourth place of the women’s 60M dash, with her time of 7.55 seconds earning her a spot in the national meet in Pittsburg, Kan. on March 8. 

After Saturday’s meet, the Lakers officially hit the midway point of their season and with less than a month until the GLIAC Championship and a little over a month until nationals, the team is starting to transition from the training stage into the performance part of their season. 

“We have been training pretty hard up until this point,” Baltes said. “Now over the next few weeks, we hope they will be able to put everything together for a big performance. We just focus on improving as much as we can on a day-to-day business and let the rest handle itself.” 

Both the men’s and women’s teams are back in action next Friday, Feb. 1 and Saturday, Feb. 2 in the Meyo Meet, hosted by Notre Dame in South Bend, Ind.