GVSU track, field starts season sprinting

GVL / Archive
Senior Amy Reynolds participates in the pole vault during last years Bob Eubanks Open held in the Laker Turf Building.

GVL Archives

GVL / Archive Senior Amy Reynolds participates in the pole vault during last years Bob Eubanks Open held in the Laker Turf Building.

Evan McMillin

The Grand Valley State University men’s and women’s track teams have gotten off to quick starts this season, already claiming numerous team victories and individual first place finishes as the head into the indoor season.

Both the men’s and women’s teams already kicked off their season by hosting the GVSU Early Bird Open and the GVSU Holiday Open in Kelley Family Sports Center. Both teams broke records and met NCAA Division II provisional qualifying marks already this year.

The men’s team earned two provisional qualifying marks and broke one school record at the Early Bird Open. Junior Nathaniel Hammersmith was responsible for the new record in the 300-meter dash, hitting a time of 34.62 seconds.

At the Holiday Open, the Laker men were able to secure five victories and seven provisional qualifying marks. Headliners inlcuded 4×400 team who bested their time for a better mark in the relay, and Logan Hoffman, who also set a mark in the individual 400-meter dash.

The women may be having an even better season than the men so far, notching 11 provisional qualifying marks in the Early Bird Open and totaling 10 victories and another 11 provisional marks at the Holiday Open. Sam Lockhart attained two NCAA Division II automatic qualifying marks to go with her provisional marks in the weight throw and the shot put.

GVSU is not ready to rest on their laurels and enjoy their early season success. With their experience, they know they have a long way to go to be where they want to be.

“We know that we’ll have to improve on a lot of those marks in order to qualify for the indoor championships,” said junior Joe Graves. “That brings me to one of our team goals, which is to train so hard to qualify for the indoor championships in Alabama. We can’t count on performing well as a team at nationals if we only qualify a couple of athletes.”

Some key athletes to watch for on the men’s side include Graves in distance, Ethan Barnes in the 800 meter dash, as well as seniors Steve Fuelling and Jake Isaacson in the long distance runs. Senior Donny Stiffler is also someone who GVSU will rely on in the field events.

“As a team we’ve been training hard throughout the fall and we have been able to see some of that in the first few meets,” said senior Jamie Smith. “We still have a lot of work to do if we want to achieve the goals we’ve set for ourselves. It’s key that we all step up and contribute so we can go after a few more NCAA titles.”

Head coach Jerry Baltes also expects his teams past success to carry over into this year.

“I think a lot of our kids picked up or started where they left off last year,” Baltes said. “I think if we can continue to improve as much as we have in the past, we should be able to be in good shape by the end of the year.”

The Lakers compete Jan. 11-12 at the Bob Eubanks Open at Kelly Family Sports Center. This will be the first meet of the year for GVSU where scoring will be kept.

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