GVSU Track & Field team split up to compete in Akron, Notre Dame 


GVL / Alexis Velazquez

Holly Bihlman, Staff Writer

The Grand Valley State University track and field athletes split up this weekend for two meets in Akron, Ohio and Notre Dame, Indiana to compete against all of the teams they’ll see in the GLIAC Championships at the end of the month. They have two more weeks to get their qualifying marks for the championships, competing at home this upcoming weekend with over 2,000 athletes. 

Since GVSU coach Jerry Baltes couldn’t be at both the meets this weekend, he went to Notre Dame with Klaudia O’Malley, Allie Ludge and Dennis Mbuta, all performing exceptionally well and even breaking some school records. Mbuta took first place in the 1-mile with an outstanding time of 4.03.84, while Ludge took third in the championship mile with a time of 4.39.34, and finally O’Malley took third in the 1-mile run at 4.54.77. Mbuta ended up running the fastest time of the day, and only one athlete beat out Ludge. 

“They were just exceptional,” Baltes said. “All three individuals ran really, really well. Klaudia running over a five second lifetime best, and of course Allie and Dennis running lifetime bests and breaking the school record by quite a bit.”

Two school records were broken in Akron, Ohio with Anna Obi in the triple jump beating her own score by a few centimeters and Nicole Shreenan running a 54.13 to beat Chant’e Roberts record in the 400-meter. There were a lot more athletes at the Akron meet than the Notre Dame meet, but Baltes doesn’t think that their separation will have any affect on their performance or morale with the approaching GLIAC Championships.  

 “I don’t think it makes much difference, our event coaches handle their student athletes every day at practice and are ready to go, so I think they were in a fine spot to prepare our student athletes,” Baltes said.

GVL / Alexis Velazquez

As far as their preparation before the big meet this upcoming weekend goes, the main focus is getting their qualifying marks for the national competition.

“This is the time of the year you gotta start getting stuff done if you sent have a mark that’s getting you in the national meet you’re running out of opportunities,” Baltes said. “It’s that balance of continuing to train on so once we get to the conference meet and national meet we’re still ready to perform at a high level but maybe backing off a little bit this week to keep our athletes sharper and fresher.”

The athletes are excited to get back on the road again and face their biggest competitors in the nation which would be Ashland for the men, and most likely Saginaw for the women. Judging from the way the season has been going so far and the unremarkable amount of success this weekend for a few athletes, they seem to be on the right track for another outstanding GLIAC Championship.

“One of the biggest things for us is just to get out of our facility, we get so used to competing in our facility and it’s sort of the same old, same old,” Baltes said. “So just getting on the road and experiencing something different is huge. And then of course competition seeing different faces and different names. We saw some good competition and hopefully that helps us mentally prepare for the rest of the way and we’ll be ready to go the next three weekends.”

The track-and-field athletes will be staying home for two more weekends before GLIAC, with their Big Meet being hosted at the Kelly Family Sports Center on Feb. 14-15 at 10 a.m. Over 2,000 athletes will be traveling to GVSU to compete and it is their last opportunity to get those qualifying marks, so the pressure is on for some athletes, but they should have another successful weekend without a doubt.