Laker field teams look to break more records this year

GVL Archive / Andrew Mills
Junior Jocelyn Kuksa participates in the pole vault during the Bob Eubanks Open held in the Laker Turf Building.

GVL Archive / Andrew Mills Junior Jocelyn Kuksa participates in the pole vault during the Bob Eubanks Open held in the Laker Turf Building.

Kevin VanAntwerpen

For the field specialists on the Grand Valley State University track and field team, this year has already seen several broken school records, an improvement that junior thrower Matt Armstrong attributes to the team’s drive to keep pace with each other.

“The work ethic this year is even better,” Armstrong said. “There are records falling everywhere. I think the success of some of the team inspires the rest to do better. Nobody wants to be the one person who’s not getting better.”

Armstrong currently holds both the outdoor and indoor shot put records at GVSU with throws of 59-2 3/4 for each. The outdoor record was set at the Nationals meet in May 2010 while the indoor record was set on Jan. 7.

In addition to Armstrong’s success, sophomore Liz Murphy put down a new school record in the women’s weight toss with a throw of 62-11 1/2, and sophomore Sam Lockhart broke the women’s shot put record with a throw of 54-9 1/2.

Junior pole vaulter Jocelyn Kuska said she feels the team’s strength has been present all along – it simply took growth to reach the level of coordination required to break the records.

“The people that are breaking the records – they’ve been here, they’re comfortable, and they know the level we can compete at,” Kuska said. “We have the strength and conditioning down – now it’s just time to show it.”

Kuska also added that the women’s field events are shooting for first place at Nationals this year, something they’ve come just short of in each of the past two years.

“The girls are really hoping to bring home the national title this year,” Kuska said. “We’ve been so close the last two years – we’ve gotten second both times. We know if we put our minds to it, we can do it. We’ve got a lot of talent, it’s just about putting it all together and knowing we can bring it home.”

That’s not to say the Lakers have been without trials. Junior thrower Lauren Buresh recently underwent microfracture surgery in order to repair a knee injury, something that slowed her up but didn’t stop her, said assistant coach Cody Young.

“She’s been doing really well,” he said. “She’s further along than where the doctors thought she would be and where I thought she would be. She did a heck of a job, working hard. She’s close to the form she needs to be, but there’s still a little bit of work to be done.”

The Lakers will travel to Indiana University in Bloomington, Ill., this Friday to compete in the Indiana Relays. Young said he expects strong performances, especially from Murphy and Lockhart. The next scoring home meet is the GVSU Big Meet, to be held Feb. 11.

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