With championship success behind them, Lakers strive for more in 2012

Zach Sepanik

Championships are the foundation of sporting success, and the three-time national champion Grand Valley State University women’s track and field team seems to have found the secret formula, and that formula is something the men’s side will continue to strive for this indoor season.

After winning National Championships in cross country, indoor track and field and outdoor track and field last year, the women’s team feels it may be a lost season if the team does not capture a second-straight indoor track and field National Championship this winter.

“With all the talent on the team, everyone is really focusing and believing that we can do it again,” said redshirt freshman distance runner Hannah Osborn. “With everyone in uniform, there is a lot of talent. From meet to meet, we should be at the top of the competition.”

On the men’s side, when talk is directed to what they want to accomplish this indoor season, the first word spoken is “trophy.”

“One of our goals this season is to get a trophy at the national level,” said sophomore sprinter Logan Hoffman. “The guys started off really strong in the fall. Obviously, we want to dominate at the conference level, as we have, and we want to keep that up. Then we want to progress that toward the national level like the women have.”

For both squads, outstanding performances in December at the GVSU Laker Early Bird, as well as the GVSU Holiday Open, have catapulted the team to hot starts.

“I think we were solid in December just getting started,” said Jerry Baltes, GVSU men’s and women’s track and field head coach. “We had some positive results in the first December meet with the distance kids and in the second meet, our sprinters had some real strong results. Now it is just about getting back at it and hoping that they put some work in over the break.”

The men and women will start off 2012 hosting the GVSU Bob Eubanks Open on Jan. 13. They then host the Mike Lints Alumni Open on Jan. 20 before heading to Bloomington, Ind., to partake in the Indiana University Relays on Jan. 27 and 28.

Both teams will also travel to Saginaw Valley State University on Feb. 3 before hosting the GVSU Big Meet on Feb. 10 and 11. Finally, the Lakers will host the GVSU Tune-up on Feb. 17, serving as the final preparation for the GLIAC and NCAA National Championships.

“We will travel to Indiana University and that will be some pretty good competition there,” Hoffman said. “It will bring us up against some Division I opponents and even some stronger Division II opponents. And then the GVSU Big Meet we host draws a lot of competition. It will give us a chance to compete against higher-level athletes throughout the whole field. At each, there will be depth and it will be good competition for us.”

For the women to repeat as National Champions and men to reach the National podium, there are still numerous steps to polish up before the March 10 outcome.

“The biggest thing is taking care of our bodies,” Baltes said. “As the season goes on, there is a lot more stress with both the season and the workload. Really just taking care of the body, getting enough rest and eating well. We have to do that stuff in order to compete at a high level.”

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