Record day leads track and field athletes at Mike Lints

GVL / Ally Young 
Sophomore Caley Faulkner pole vaulting during the recent Mike Lints Alumni Open at GVSU.

Ally Young

GVL / Ally Young Sophomore Caley Faulkner pole vaulting during the recent Mike Lints Alumni Open at GVSU.

Zach Sepanik

Record-breaking days have been a common theme throughout the indoor season for the Grand Valley State University men’s and women’s track and field teams this season, and Friday’s Mike Lints Alumni Open at the Kelly Family Sports Center proved no different.

This time, the Lakers saw “breakthrough performances” to go along with it.

“For our second week back we had some great breakthrough performances,” said GVSU head coach Jerry Baltes. “We got senior Daniel Vanek back in the lineup on the men’s side and he broke the school record in the shot put and we had the best mark in the country by junior Sam Lockhart on the women’s side. Across the board we were solid and it was a nice step forward.”

Vanek set a GVSU and Kelly Family Sports Center record with a 19.09 meter throw in the shot put. Meanwhile, Lockhart recorded the best shot put in the country this year by more than three feet with a toss of 16.10 meters.

“I think we are in a good spot,” Baltes said. “We have most of our top kids where they need to be nationally. We have a lot of kids creeping up the performance list, getting close to hitting the national mark or putting themselves in position. The next two or three weeks will be huge to take those steps forward, stay healthy and keep progressing.”

A group of freshmen led the way for the men on Friday with several other strong performances.

Brent Brock took first in the triple jump with a mark of 13.62 meters, while Nathan Fraeyman won the 400-meter dash in 50 seconds. Trent Chappell also saw success, clearing 2.07 meters in the high jump, good enough for second place and a personal best mark.

“I’m happy that my hard work has been paying off and that I can reach that height at this point in the season,” Chappell said. “I’m hoping that I can carry on and hit some better heights to make sure I can go to Nationals.”

Meanwhile, the women won four other events besides Lockhart’s to continue their progression toward another national championship.

Sophomore Kristen Hixson hit a 3.85-meter height in the pole vault, sophomore Alisha Weaver cleared 1.66 meters in the high jump, and senior Rachel Patterson nearly broke a GVSU record in the 3,000-meter run with a time of 9 minutes, 23.05 seconds.

The 4×400-meter relay team of senior Chanelle Caldwell and sophomores Kalena Franklin, Leiah Hess and Aileen Lemanski also took first place with a time of 3:49.90.

“We were expecting to do good for the intensity of our workouts lately, but not set any personal records or anything,” Franklin said. “Our 4×400 team dropped time and moved up on the list for nationals and we are not even in our light workout week. We also have quite a few freshmen stepping up.”

Up next for each squad is the Indiana University Relays on Friday and Saturday with only a select few men and women making the trip.

“We really look at those who are going to help us at the national level,” Baltes said. “It gets a little challenging figuring it out, but we let them know from the get go that they have to prove themselves these first four meets at home and earn the right to travel down to IU.”

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