Men dominate field for second-straight GLIAC championship

GVL Archive / Andrew Mills
Grand Valley junior Travis Fisher competes in the pole vault during last years GLIAC Indoor Championships.

Andrew Mills

GVL Archive / Andrew Mills Grand Valley junior Travis Fisher competes in the pole vault during last years GLIAC Indoor Championships.

Greg Monahan

This weekend, the Grand Valley State University men’s track and field team ran away with its second-straight GLIAC championship, but conference championship hardware was not the only honor the Lakers brought back to Allendale.

The Lakers handled all nine other teams at the meet, finishing with 170.5 points, well ahead of second-place Ashland University, which ended the competition with an even 100.

In addition to the conference title – the team’s 11th in the past 12 years – and GVSU head coach Jerry Baltes’ Coach of the Year award, distance runner Josh Moskalewski took home the GLIAC Freshman Track Athlete of the Year award after he won the individual title in the 3,000-meter run.

Moskalewski was well back of the pack more than halfway through the race, but during the last three laps he made a startling comeback.

“He turned a switch on, made a charge and just ran away with the race,” Baltes said. “So it was real exciting, for a freshman to win a conference championship should mean a pretty bright future for him.”

After the races concluded, Moskalewski received his GLIAC Freshman of the Year award – an announcement he said came as a complete surprise.

“No, I was definitely not expecting it,” he said. “When they read it off I actually had to take a double-take. I was looking at everybody like, ‘Are you serious?’ It was amazing, just a great day.”

Though the Lakers were widely expected to win their second-straight conference title, junior distance runner Ryan Toth said that did not take away from the fact that the team is yet again GLIAC champions.

“It’s definitely still a big deal – we don’t take it for granted that we’re going to win every year,” he said. “Ashland is pretty good every year, and they beat us in outdoor last year so we definitely get pumped up and there’s a lot of energy in the building when we compete.”

As is often the case with both the men’s and women’s track teams, the Lakers separated from the pack in the distance events. The team swept the top three in the 5,000-meter run, with Toth coming in first. In the 3,000-meter, two other Lakers finished in the top four with Moskalewski.

The lopsided final score could have been worse had the Lakers had all their athletes available during the meet. The team had two pole vaulters unable to compete due to injury, with Bret Myers out with an injured Achilles tendon and senior Quinton Dennis, the 2010 GLIAC outdoor championship title holder, was out with a sprained ankle.

“It wasn’t an easy meet,” Baltes said. “You look at that score and you think it was smooth sailing, but we had a lot of things that didn’t go smooth. Our kids fought through and competed well, and that’s a tribute to them preparing and getting the job done.”

The Lakers now look forward to the NCAA Indoor National Championships, which will take place in Albuquerque, N.M., on March 11 and 12.

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