Track and field continues to build momentum towards GLIACs

GVL / Robert Mathews

Robert Mathews

GVL / Robert Mathews GVSU vs. SVSU

Pete Barrows

The heavy winds on Saturday afternoon weren’t enough to slow down Grand Valley State University’s track and field teams.

With eight combined provisional qualifying marks reached in East Lansing at the Spartan Invite, the Lakers are sailing smoothly through the early portion of the 2013 outdoor season and by all indications, they are prepared to continue full speed ahead.

“The weather brought some challenges with wind gusts of 20-30 miles an hour at times,” said GVSU head coach Jerry Baltes. “I thought our student athletes had great focus and showed toughness throughout the day.”

Senior Sam Lockhart took a week off from breaking records, but was a dominating presence in the throwers pit, as is her custom. Lockhart’s discus launch of 51.56 meters (169’2’’) was good for an automatic qualifying mark, as was her 57.98 meter (190’3’’) hammer throw toss, the third-farthest mark in Division II this season.

Senior Katelyn Fox and freshman Laura Schroeder, who finished fifth and third in the hammer throw, contributed provisional qualifying marks of their own in the event with marks of 50.57 meters (165’11’’) and 51.46 meters (168’10’’), respectively.

Not to be outdone, seniors Donny Stiffler and Matt Armstrong added provisional qualifying marks in the shotput on the men’s side, finishing second and third in the event with respective throws of 16.31 meters (53’6.25’’) and 16.28 meters (53’5’’).

“Sam (Lockhart) is an amazing athlete,” said GVSU sprint, hurdle and relay coach Keith Roberts. “She sets the tone for the entire team. Coach (Blaine) Maag has done an amazing job with her and the rest of the throws squad.”

The men’s division of GVSU’s program third and final provisional mark of the day came when freshman Sean Wells took first place in the 110-meter hurdles with a time of 14.51 seconds.

Freshman Ethan Barnes, who won the 800-meter dash in one minute and 54.26 seconds, sophomore Brent VanEnk, who took first in the 100-meter dash in a time of 10.72 seconds, Nathaniel Hammersmith, who outpaced the field in the 200-meter dash with a time of 21.57 seconds and Tendo Lukwago cleared the 2.1-meter mark to tie for second in the high jump.

On the ladies side, senior Jennifer Fuller won high jump after clearing a height of 1.65 meters, junior Kalena Franklin took third in the 100-meter hurdles with a time of 13.86 seconds and junior Andrea Kober, who ran second in the 400-meter hurdles with a time of 1:01.99, all produced noteworthy results and all three recorded provisional times. Sophomore Hannah Osborn, who finished second in the steeplechase with a time of 10:51.59, rounded out the day for the Lakers.

GVSU associate head coach Lou Andreadis took GVSU pole vaulters to Big Rapids for the Bulldog open and his vaulters, although separated from the rest of the squad, produced similarly. With vaults of 3.4 meters (11’1.75’’) by freshman Alexandra Kitz and 4.45 meters (14’7.25’’) by junior Jake Elbers, the Lakers won the events on both the men’s and women’s side.

“The Michigan State invite gave us an opportunity to take the next step in the outdoor season,” Roberts said. “Right now, we are focusing on staying ahead in the classroom and putting ourselves in position to peak for championship season.”

This Thursday, Apr. 11, the Lakers will travel south to Knoxville, Tenn. to participate in the Sea Relays. They’ll return home Saturday Apr. 13 just in time for the squad to once again divide and conquer between Hillsdale College (sprinters) and Western Kentucky University for competition.

“We had some nice results and a handful of lifetime best along with many season bests,” Baltes said. “We will need to stay focused these next three weeks on keeping a good balance between our academics and continued progress in practice and meets so that we can be ready to finish out the semester and season out on a great note.”
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