GVSU men, women win GLIAC track and field championships

GVL / Kasey Garvelink - Samora Nesbitt works on his jumps during practice on Feb. 17, 2016 in Allendale.

Kasey Garvelink

GVL / Kasey Garvelink – Samora Nesbitt works on his jumps during practice on Feb. 17, 2016 in Allendale.

Jacob Arvidson

The Grand Valley State men’s and women’s track and field teams both secured GLIAC Championships at Tiffin University on Feb. 28-29.

The men beat out the host, Tiffin, with a total of 163 points. The women beat out tough competition from Hillsdale with a total of 172 points.

This is the women’s team’s 17th consecutive GLIAC title and the men’s seventh consecutive title.

“Jerry (Baltes), our head coach, always stressed that little bit extra,” said senior pole vaulter Jaime Roberts. “That extra half point can make a difference. I believe the team came ready to compete and hit big jumps, times and distances.”

Roberts was one of 55 GVSU athletes to score points at the GLIAC Championships. The men won first place in six events and the women won first place in four.

In addition, senior Tor’i Brooks broke the GVSU record in the heptathlon and junior Samora Nesbitt broke the school record in the triple jump. Brooks totaled 5,141 points to finish second and break the previous record of 5,046 points set by himself earlier this season. Nesbitt held the previous record in the triple jump, but his GLIAC-championship leap of 15.23 meters crushed his previous best of 14.82 meters.

Roberts led the way in the women’s pole vault, finishing first with a jump of 3.91 meters. GVSU sent five athletes into the event and all five placed. Skylar Schoen finished second, Whitney Bice came in fourth, Michaila Lawcock got fifth and Krista Nauseda rounded it out with sixth place.

“I am so proud of my teammates,” Roberts said. “The women’s pole vault took first, second, fourth, fifth and sixth, scoring 30 points for Grand Valley, which is huge. We knew what we had to do to help the team and we pulled through. I couldn’t be happier with the way the lady vaulters performed and how I ended my last indoor conference meet.”

Baltes was pleased with the vaulters.

“The group of ladies did well,” he said. “They competed well, they vaulted well and they scored well. All five of them helped score 30 big points for the team. I give big credit to coach Lou (Andreadis).”

Beatriz Indurain claimed the title in the women’s 60-meter hurdles with a personal-best time of 8.49 seconds. Tiara Wiggins and Breanna Luba also scored important points in the event, finishing sixth and seventh, respectively.

In the men’s 60-meter hurdles, defending national champion Sean Wells did his part. He finished in first place with a time of 7.92 seconds, almost half a second faster than the next-closest hurdler.

Ethan Barnes had a strong day as well. He placed first in the mile with a time of 4:18.73 and his time of 1:54.98 in the 800-meter run was also good enough for first place.

Sophomore Angie Ritter shot across the finish line in 24.71 seconds to claim the top spot in the women’s 200-meter dash. Her speed also brought her second place in the 60-meter dash when she clocked in at 7.60 seconds.

Amy Cymerman ran well in the women’s 5,000-meter run. She pulled away from the competition on the final lap to finish first in 17:05.25.

“Amy hadn’t been feeling well all week, but she came out and executed a great race,” Baltes said.

The men’s distance medley relay team of Ethan Barnes, Lawson Bright-Mitchell, Chaz Porter and Wuoi Mach claimed a first place finish. Mach pulled away from the Hillsdale challenger during the final two laps, but an inspired finish by Hillsdale made Mach give a little extra in the final meters in order to win.

“That should get us into nationals,” Baltes said. “Wuoi did great job on the anchor with a strong run. He led the whole time and held off the Hillsdale guy.”

The men’s 5,000-meter run saw four GVSU athletes score points. Nate Orndorf took seventh, Kyle Flores finished fourth, Brady Selner placed second and Chris May took the cake with first place, finishing in 14:39.03.

“It was a gutsy, gritty race,” Baltes said. “They went hard out of the gates to try and earn a spot at nationals. About halfway through we realized it wasn’t going to happen, but they still ran and finished hard.”

Senior Darien Thornton took the GLIAC crown in the men’s weight throw with his toss of 20.64 meters. Jay Lechner, Mike Moon and Blake Donson also scored points in the event.

“The throwers did well,” Baltes said. “Darien did a great job leading the way and the others scored big points.”

GVSU will send its best to compete in the NCAA Division II National Championships on March 11 and 12 in Pittsburg, Kansas. The Lakers will look to build on their GLIAC titles with two national championship trophies.