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Bob Eubanks Open Indoor Track Meet

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GVL / Archive Bob Eubanks Open Indoor Track Meet

Bryce Derouin

Success has followed the Grand Valley State University track teams all season long, and that didn’t stop over the weekend at the Hillsdale Invitational.

The GVSU women won 11 events and scored 205.5 points to take home the victory over second-place Hillsdale, which finished with 139.5 points. On the men’s side, the Lakers tallied 201 points and 10 event victories, narrowly edging out second-place Hillsdale (198 points).

GVSU’s men and women have yet to lose in a scored meet this season.

“We were solid across the board,” said head coach Jerry Baltes. “We didn’t compete all our student-athletes. We rested some in preparation for the remainder of the season. We really focused on having kids step up and fill some roles and I thought we did that.”

Five women hit NCAA automatic-qualifying marks with senior Lauren Buresh (shot put), junior Liz Murphy (hammer throw), sophomore Kalena Franklin (100-meter hurdles), senior Chanelle Caldwell (400-meter run) and sophomore Alisha Weaver (high jump).

Sophomore Brett Myers cracked the NCAA Division II qualifying mark list in pole vault. Myers cleared the qualifying height of 4.90 meters (16 feet, 0.75 inches), which gave him the sixth-best height in the Division II season thus far. Another highlight for the Lakers was sophomore Nathaniel Hamersmith, who was a member of the winning 4×100 relay team along with senior Xavier Parnell, freshman Bren VanEnk and freshman Jesse Schwartz who clocked in with a time of 41.33 seconds. Hammersmith also took first in the 400-meter dash with a time of 48.27.

“This was actually my first 400 as a college athlete,” he said. “So I was kind of surprised running what I ran. I feel like I can run faster than what I did, but I was very pleased with what I did do on the course. I didn’t think about the distance or not running it before, I just wanted to get out there and get what I needed to do done.”

The results of the Lakers track success can be directly tied to their work ethic in practice. However, it also extends to what they do off the track as well.

“The amount of work we put into practice and the preparation and constant working towards what we are trying to accomplish is key,” Hammersmith said. “We all spend time after practice making sure we’re iced down and staying healthy overall. We always push each other in practice as well.”

Coach Baltes is pleased with his team’s current success, but would like to see his team continue to get better as the year goes on.

“Track and field is a progression sport where you have to get better each week,” he said. “You want to keep progressing so you’re hitting your faster times and best marks at the end of the season. It’s all about getting better each week so that hopefully we can do that for 3 to five more weeks so we’ll be ready for the GLIAC championships and the NCAA championships.”

The Lakers will be hosting the Al Owens Classic at the GVSU Track and Field Stadium on Friday, with some student athletes will be attending the Mt. SAC relays in Walnut, Calif., Thursday through Saturday.

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