Men, women win GLIAC at home

GVL / Eric Coulter
Grand Valley State University athletes celebrate on the field after winning the GLIAC Conference. Both the Mens and Womens team were victorious.

Eric Coulter

GVL / Eric Coulter Grand Valley State University athletes celebrate on the field after winning the GLIAC Conference. Both the Mens and Womens team were victorious.

Zach Sepanik

In its first year of operation, the Grand Valley State University Lacrosse/Track and Field Stadium has given its teams an edge in home games this season. For the Grand Valley State University men’s and women’s track and field teams, hosting the 2012 GLIAC outdoor track and field championships from Tuesday through Thursday
proved this true.

The women claimed their 13thstraight GLIAC outdoor crown with
239 team points, while the men won their second-straight with 213.5 points. GVSU greatly outdistanced Ashland University, which finished in secondplace on both sides.

“We had GLIAC conference meet records and we had four or five school records,” said GVSU head coach Jerry Baltes, who was nominated as the Midwest region’s coach of the year. “The GLIAC is ranked the best conference in the country so you put a lot of good people competing against each other and they bring the best out
of one another. The facility is fast and the weather was great, so you put all those variables together and it made for a great situation.”

The women were led by a strong individual performance from freshman Brittney Banister. In the 100-meter dash, she finished in first with a time of 11.93 seconds. She followed it with a victory in the 200-meter dash n 24.13. Banister also was part of the 4×100-meter relay team that set a new GLIAC outdoor championship meet record.

Senior Chanelle Caldwell had one of the more impressive performances of the day, winning the 800-meter run with a Division II-best time of two minutes, 7.74 seconds. Another came from grad student Betsy Graney, who finished the 5,000-meter run in a new GLIAC championship meet record of 16:13.60, eclipsing the previous mark by approximately 43 seconds.

The field events also yielded strong marks across the board. Sophomore Kristen Hixson won the pole vault and senior Lauren Buresh, with a throw of 15.82 meters, earned the top throw in
Division II this season in the shot put. Junior Sam Lockhart, coming off a hand injury, set a new meet-record in the discus throw by over 10 feet and junior Liz Murphy moved into the top spot in Division II in the hammer throw with a toss of 62.62 meters.

“It was very exciting, but we are ready for more,” Murphy said. “Everyone wants to do their part to contribute to another National Championship.

This is just a pre-cursor to what is going to happen in a couple weeks and it is really exciting when we come out on top by such a large margin.”

On the men’s side, senior sprinter Xavier Parnell led the way with a thirdplace finish in the 100-meter dash (10.61) and second-place finish in the 200-meter dash (21.36).

The pole vault saw freshman Bret Myers, junior Raphael Gelo, freshman Jeremy Horner and junior Kevin Leland take the top four spots. Another sweep came in the 3,000-meter steeplechase as junior Jake Isaacson, senior Jeff Nordquist, and junior Ryan Ziolko
captured the gold, silver and bronze. Sophomore Logan Hoffman
claimed a first-place finish in the 400-meter hurdles with a time of 51.61, while fellow sophomore Bryce Pulley earned a victory in the 1,500-meter run with a solid time of 3:55.25.

“We have been waiting for weather like this where we can perform to the best of our abilities and I think we really did that from seniors all the way to freshman,” Parnell said. “As a team, we brought team energy which definitely helped. It is pretty awesome, as a senior, to go out on top.”

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