T&F teams prep for meet at SVSU

T&F teams prep for meet at SVSU

Tate Baker

When the Grand Valley State University men’s and women’s indoor track and field teams travel across the state this weekend for the latest installment of Battle of the Valleys, bragging rights won’t be the only thing on the line.

The rivalry meet will give GVSU a feel of what the 2014 GLIAC Indoor Championships will be like, as the Lakers will be competing on a similar 200-meter track.

“It’s a little bit of a difference, racing on a 200-meter track, rather than the 300-meter track, which we have here,” GVSU head coach Jerry Baltes said. “It’s a great opportunity for us to get a feel for what the GLIAC Championships will be like.”

There’s no doubt that athletes from both sides of the meet will be competing with a little more adrenaline than usual.

The Lakers and Cardinals just seem to bring their A-game against one another.

“The rivalry isn’t secluded to football or basketball, or any single sport for that matter,” sophomore thrower Blake Donson said. “We want to keep the win tally in our favor. Coming away with a win over Saginaw Valley is a goal on everyone’s mind. I can guarantee you that.”

Both GVSU teams have been on a roll lately.

The No. 2 Laker women will be looking for their sixth consecutive first-place finish of the season, while the No. 4 Laker men will try to carry the momentum from last week’s first-place finish at the Mike Lints Alumni Open — their fourth first-place finish.

“It’s going to be a really competitive meet. We will definitely be prepared and ready to go,” Donson said. “We just need to stay focused on our primary goals. We all know what we have to do individually. It’s up to us to put it all together.”

Both GVSU squads appear to be in tip-top shape, as evidenced by their standings in the initial USTFCCCA polls, but that doesn’t mean the student athletes are satisfied with their status.

The Lakers know they’ll need to improve in order to compete for first place at nationals, and it starts with qualifying as many athletes as possible.

“This team is resilient, (and) we aren’t content with mediocre efforts,” sophomore thrower Laura Schroeder said. “Everyone wants to do everything in their power to qualify for nationals. That’s one of our main focuses: to qualify more people to nationals at each and every meet.”

The SVSU meet should provide the Lakers with a great opportunity to do just that.

The dual will start at 4 p.m. at the James E. O’Neil Arena in University Center, Mich.

“Personally, I want to do everything I can to improve on my marks in hopes of moving up on the national leaderboards,” Schroeder said. “I’m positive that all my teammates feel the same way.”