Quick start not enough as track and field falls in national championship to St. Thomas

GVL Archive
Semior Xavier Parnell runs a sprint.

GVL Archives

GVL Archive Semior Xavier Parnell runs a sprint.

Even with a strong familiarity to the national spotlight, the Grand Valley State University men’s and women’s track and field teams will be competing from Thursday to Saturday at the 2012 Division II Outdoor Track and Field National Championships in an unfamiliar setting.

The Lakers were plagued by the same issue that has haunted them throughout the season: maintaining a lead throughout an entire game. What made this situation hurt more than others, was that it happened in the Division II Men’s College Lacrosse Association title game.

GVSU looked sharp from the beginning, as senior Jack Dumsa scored early in the game to give the Lakers a 1-0 lead.

GVSU continued their strong start and jumped out to an early 4-1 lead over the University of St. Thomas (Minn.) when junior Tyler Farmer scored with 4 minutes, 11 seconds left in the first quarter.

The Lakers continued to control the game, never trailing in the first half and brought a 6-5 lead into halftime.

However the second half would belong to St. Thomas. With 12:00 left in the third, St. Thomas finally was able to draw even. The Tommies took their first lead of the game three minutes later, going up 7-6.

GVSU managed to tie the game back at up at 6:54 in the third when junior Michael Garner scored on an assist from junior Jeremy Pouba, but St. Thomas would regain the lead with 3:17 in the third and not look back. GVSU’s late comeback fell short as the Tommies claimed the MCLA Division II National Championship 9-8.

“We knew it was going to be and emotional and long game from the get go,” said junior Tyler Farmer. “It definitely felt like that in the end. It was very disappointing in the end and obviously we would have liked to have seen a different result. The guys played their hearts out and left it out on the field.”

After the first half, the Lakers struggled to regain the offense they found in the first quarter. Turnovers and a lack of possession time were contributing factors to their lack of scoring.

“We definitely wanted to get out to a good lead and maintain that lead,” Farmer said. “It’s something we struggled with all season, and it definitely showed in the final national championship game. We were on the defensive end too much and our offense wasn’t producing like it was in the first quarter. I think it was just a factor of us just being lazy with the ball a little bit and our turnovers increased. The big thing was just a lot of turnovers that were preventable. It was a struggle and frustrating to see and be a part of, but sometimes that’s the way the ball goes.”

The Lakers gained valuable experience in a championship game, and they now know what it takes to get here. However, they are still not satisfied with their season.

We got pretty far and got where we wanted to be,” said junior goalie Danny Kransberger. “But we know that we still have a lot of work left to do.”

Even in defeat, GVSU still had a successful season. While the outcome may not be what they wanted, the Lakers put the rest of the MCLA on notice.

“We were never really appreciated by anyone in the country as far as rankings or talent wise,” Farmer said. “A lot of teams took us for granted and we still didn’t feel we got the respect from the critics and the people around the MCLA. I think we had a lot to prove and our team’s character showed all the way through to the national championship game.”

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