Three school records fall at GVSU Big Meet

GVL / Kasey Garvelink - Sean Wells takes off in the Men’s 60 meter dash on Feb. 13, 2016 in Allendale.

GVL / Kasey Garvelink – Sean Wells takes off in the Men’s 60 meter dash on Feb. 13, 2016 in Allendale.

Jacob Arvidson

It’s named the GVSU Big Meet for a reason.

A total of 65 teams showed up to compete in Grand Valley State’s annual indoor track and field event at the Kelly Family Sports Center on Feb. 12 and 13.

Even with all the competition, GVSU didn’t shy away from the limelight. The men’s team broke three GVSU records, and junior Kendra Foley recorded an automatic qualifying mark for the women. Between the two days, a total of 49 provisional qualifying marks were reached, along with Foley’s automatic mark.

Foley’s automatic mark was the third of the year for the women’s team. It came in the mile run when she crossed the finish line in 4:48.58. The runners jumped out to a fast pace early and Foley was able to ride that high speed to the end, setting a new personal best.

“I tried to go out a little harder than normal,” she said. “Being the only Grand Valley athlete in the race, I tried to focus more on myself and what I thought I could do. I tried to embrace this race with a lot of confidence in myself, my training and all of the stuff the coaches have put into me.”

GVSU head coach Jerry Baltes was pleased with Foley’s race.

“It went out blazing fast,” he said. “She did a great job of handling the pace and just holding it together. I think if it starts out a little more controlled she runs even faster. It was a good breakthrough for her and a good confidence-booster moving forward.”

Redshirt sophomore Wuoi Mach followed Foley’s performance with his own stunning time in the men’s mile. Nate Peck’s 4:07.55 time in 2006 had been the mark to beat for a decade, but Mach’s blistering 4:06.42 time broke Peck’s record. Mach was honored to have taken the record from Peck, a man he has much respect for.

“Nate Peck is a great guy and he holds a lot of records for us,” Mach said. “He is arguably one of the greatest distance runners we’ve had at our school, so to take something away from him is special.”

Redshirt freshman Lawson Bright-Mitchell made his presence known in the men’s 60-meter dash. His time of 6.81 seconds broke a 14-year-old record set by Scott Mackey in 2002. Bright-Mitchell had threatened Mackey’s 6.83-second record at the Hillsdale Wide Track Meet one week earlier, but came up just short. The youngster felt blessed to have achieved such a difficult mark.

“Usually I don’t really have a good block start, but today I had a great block start which helped me get the school record,” Bright-Mitchell said. “I came really far to get here. I never imagined when I was younger that I would do something like breaking school records, let alone for a college. I feel really accomplished.”

In 2013, Tendo Lukwago leaped 14.79 meters in the triple jump to set a new record for GVSU. It only stood for three years. Samora Nesbitt’s 14.82-meter jump on Feb. 12 knocked Lukwago from his pedestal. Nesbitt’s record was the third and final of the GVSU records set at the GVSU Big Meet. Just like Mach and Bright-Mitchell, Nesbitt was thrilled to be on top.

“It felt good, but I didn’t think it was going to be that good,” he said. “It felt better than the other jumps I’d had, but I’d had a really good series overall so they all felt pretty good.”

Both the GLIAC and national championships have competitions on consecutive days. The GVSU Big Meet serves as an opportunity to get the student-athletes accustomed to competing on back-to-back days.

“It’s about getting everyone used to a second day of competition so they can get positive results on both days,” Baltes said.

The Lakers will host the GVSU Tune-Up in the Kelly Family Sports Center on Feb. 19. This is the final meet before the student-athletes head to Tiffin University for the GLIAC Championships on Feb. 27 and 28.