No. 1 Lincoln edges No. 2 GVSU in 5-Way

GVL / Nate Kalinowski
A runner doing hurdles at the Mike Lints Meet on January 19.

GVL / Nate Kalinowski A runner doing hurdles at the Mike Lints Meet on January 19.

Tate Baker

NCAA Division II Indoor Track and Field Championships aren’t held in February, but Saturday’s matchup between Lincoln University and Grand Valley State University had a national championship ambiance as the top two women’s teams in the country went toe to toe at the GVSU five-Way meet.

“The atmosphere was incredible, as it should be for a meet that features two of the best teams in the country,” senior Lisa Galasso said. “This meet really benefited us, as we got somewhat of a sneak peak against a team that we will see at nationals.”

The Lakers, who were without injured senior Kalena Franklin, faced the immense task of trying to take down the No. 1 team in the country without one of their strongest athletes.

It seemed the loss was too much to overcome, though, as the Lakers finished second behind Lincoln by a score of 141-132. Hillsdale College (78), Lewis University (54) and St. Joseph’s College (24) followed behind.

“It’s a 12-point swing with (Franklin) out of the line up,” Galasso said. “If anything, it puts a bigger target on their backs for the rest of the year.

“There’s no doubt in my mind that we could have beaten them if we were at full strength. Luckily for us, we will have that chance later this season.”

There were no injury concerns within the Laker women’s distance crew — although it wouldn’t have mattered if there were — because GVSU dominated the mile by sweeping first through seventh place.

“Seeing everyone competing on the same page was great,” junior Hannah Osborn said. “Everyone brought everything they had to the table. When we perform to our potential, we have this type of success.”

Those hoping for a similar, nail-biting competition on the men’s side of the meet left the Kelly Family Sports Center disappointed.

The Laker men routed the competition, as second-place Lincoln (85), Hillsdale (82), Lewis (59) and St. Joseph’s (38) rounded out the competition.

“There was definitely an added feeling of team camaraderie,” sophomore Darien Thornton said. “We wanted to make a statement at this meet. I think we did that. We are seeing consistent improvement in many different areas, hopefully that won’t stop anytime soon.”

The Lakers made a statement by taking home first-place finishes in six events.

Two of the event victories came from the throw crew as freshman Lovell Peterson came onto the scene and took home first in the weight throw with a toss of 18.78 meters. Thornton finished first in the shot put by setting a new personal record with a 16.99-meter hurl.

“That’s a big mark for (Peterson),” Thornton said. “He has shown the potential; it became clear today. For me, shot put is finally clicking. It was a good feeling to have that type of performance. It’s everyone’s goal to keep moving our marks further; hopefully we can continue to do that.”

GVSU will hit the road this weekend for a two-day competition beginning Friday and concluding Saturday at the Hillsdale Invitational.