Men look to repeat at GLIAC championships

GVL Archive / Andrew Mills
Grand Valley freshmen Steven Ferguson gets some advice from Coach Lou Andreadis on men

GVL Archive / Andrew Mills Grand Valley freshmen Steven Ferguson gets some advice from Coach Lou Andreadis on men

Jon Adamy

For the Grand Valley State University men’s track and field team, only one place matters when it comes to this season’s GLIAC championships: first.

This year’s team will look to follow in the footsteps of last year’s first-place finish when it travels to Saginaw Valley State University Friday.

Senior long sprinter Eric Lowe said he believes the athletes that return from last year’s team will benefit from the experience of winning last year’s indoor championship.

“I think it helps out a little bit. I mean, it gives us that little bit of confidence boost,” Lowe said. “We know we can do it. It’s fresh in our minds of how we did it, so it just sort of gives us a blueprint to do it again.”

For Lowe and the other athletes, returning to the conference championships with goal of a top finish is something they knew they would be working toward when they came to the team.

“That’s half the reason why people came here, was because of the tradition of track and field,” Lowe said. “When we all signed up to come to Grand Valley, we knew we’d be competing and winning conference championships.”

On top of the expectations to perform well at the conference championships, there is added pressure for the athletes with the meet being the final competition in which they can qualify to compete in the NCAA Championships in March. GVSU head coach Jerry Baltes said for athletes on the brink of qualifying for nationals, the marks needed to qualify can change based on the performance of others.

“It’s hard to tell. There’s conference meets all over the country, so you could be sitting good this weekend, but if people across the country have great days, you can be on the outside looking in real quick,” Baltes said. “So you know no matter who you are, unless you’ve got an automatic mark, you’ve really got to be focused on improving your marks and competing at a high level.”

Senior pole vaulter Quinton Dennis said knowing there is only one shot left at a qualifying mark adds even more adrenaline to the already motivated athletes.

“You want to give it your all in all meets, but there’s always that little bit extra you get knowing that now is the last chance,” Dennis said. “So it definitely helps improve your marks a little bit to know that it’s your last chance, but it does put a lot of pressure on you as well.”

Baltes said he discussed with his team the importance of bringing the same level of enthusiasm and excitement they had when hosting last year’s indoor championship. Baltes said there is not one specific event group that needs to do well for the team to take another first-place finish. It will require a team effort.

“One of our strengths is we’re good in all the events, so our focus is each event taking care of themselves and competing at a high level, and if everyone does that, we’ll be okay, so we don’t single anyone out,” Baltes said. “We really focus on each event group competing to the best of their ability, and hopefully that’ll mean all total at the end of the day, we’ll have enough points to win the championship.”

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