Strong performance at Holiday Open sets tone for track and field

GVL Archive
Senior Jeff Nordquist rounds the corner during a meet

GVL Archives

GVL Archive Senior Jeff Nordquist rounds the corner during a meet

Zach Sepanik

Fast times and personal records started the holiday season off right for the Grand Valley State University men’s and women’s track and field teams at the GVSU Holiday Open on Dec. 16.

“Across the board we had some real positive results going into the holiday break,” said GVSU head coach Jerry Baltes. “Now we are back at it so hopefully we pick up where we left off in December, next week at our first meet of the New Year.”

The field athletes led the way for the men’s squad. Freshman Trent Chappell hit an NCAA provisional mark in the high jump at 2.05 meters, also earning first place. Meanwhile, sophomore Steve Reives came out victorious in the triple jump.

Junior Andrew Gorley hit a provisional mark in the weight throw as he won his event, throwing 17.91 meters. The 4×400 meter relay team also hit a provisional qualifying mark and finished second.

“This meet, we were definitely not in personal record setting shape, but we were faster than we were the first meet and ready to post some decent times,” said sophomore sprinter Logan Hoffman.

On the women’s side, GVSU won six events to outperform the competition. Sophomore Kalena Franklin won the 60-meter hurdles and senior Jocelyn Kuksa claimed first in the pole vault.

Also, junior Sam Lockhart dominated the throwing competition; garnering first place finishes in the shot put and weight throw.

“It was a strong finish before the winter break,” Lockhart said. “It gave motivation to everyone to keep working hard over break.”

The Lakers next compete on Jan. 13 when they host the Bob Eubanks Open in the Kelly Family Sports Center, giving the athletes a long stretch away from the meets.

“The coaches give us workouts if we are not here. That puts us in a situation where we have to do it ourselves,” Hoffman said. “Even though people are keeping up with the workouts, the same kind of intensity may not be there. For this first meet of this year, some people may run different events just to see where they are and get back where they are supposed to be.”

Staying in shape over the vacation is vital to everyone, but a fast start with the indoor season is not necessarily a must, Baltes said.

“Everything sort of stacks on top of each week so if you can get off to a good start, both from a fitness standpoint and competition standpoint, then hopefully you can build off that,” he said. “We had some great performances in December. Hopefully the kids got some good work in on their own at home and we can pick right up and get going full speed ahead at the Eubanks.”

Yet the goals, especially after last year’s championships, remain the same.

“Our goals are to compete for a GLIAC Championship and get as many people to the National Championships, and then have a chance to compete for a National Championship,” Baltes said. “That is our ultimate goal and there are many steps between now and then that we have to take care of to put us in a position to do that.”

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