GV Track & Field hosts big meet over the weekend


GVL / Katherine Vasile

Holly Bihlman, Staff Writer

On Friday and Saturday, the Grand Valley State University track and field athletes competed against over 2,000 athletes from other schools just two weeks before the GLIAC Championships, ending on a high note with multiple school records being broken. The student athletes have just one more shot this upcoming weekend to achieve qualifying scores for the championships, so it’s crunch time for the remaining athletes that need those scores. 

To recap Friday, Feb. 14, there were a lot of outstanding times and numbers coming from the women’s side, staring with Angelica Floyd who ran a 7.60 in the 60-meter dash, placing her in third overall. Nicole Shreenan also broke her own record from last week in the 400-meter dash with a time of 53.80, securing the first place win.

Allie Ludge placed second in the 800-meter run with a time of 2.09.7, Hanna Groeber placed third in the 3,000-meter run at 9.36.52, and Stacey Metzger placed second in the 5,000-meter run with a time of 17.09.52.

For the rest of the meet, Ellianne Kimes and Kassidie Stimmel tied for first place in the pole vault with a score of 4.03 and Bobbie Goodwin took first place in the weight throw with 21.12. 

The men also had some stunning results on Friday, starting with Dennis Mbuta, who broke two school records this weekend, one being his second place finish in the 800-meter run with a time of 1.48.94.

Tanner Chada placed second in the 3,000-meter run at 8.10.95, followed by Connor Schwartz in third with a time of 8.11.38, and Enael Woldmichael secured a first place win in the 5,000-meter run with a time of 14.12.32. In the remaining events, Jacob Battani placed second in the pole vault at 5.02 and Ryan Stefanko took first in the shot put with a score of 15.01. 

Moving onto Saturday, Feb. 15, the women crushed the distance medley open, winning first place with a time of 11.30.59 for Klaudia O’Malley, Sarah Beulla, Molly McLaughlin and Allie Ludge.

Angelica Floyd had another great win in the long jump with a score of 5.72, securing first place there, while Judith Essemiah took second in the weight throw with a score of 17.99 and Rachel Dolan also taking second in the pole vault at 3.71. 

The men had a successful Saturday as well, starting with Tyler Mansfield in second place in the 60-meter hurdles with a score of 8.35, followed by Tyler Kirkwood in fourth with a score of 8.46.

The distance medley open went even better for the men as well, breaking another school record with an impressive 9.46.51 for Dennis Mbuta, John Groendyk, Daniel Walker and Tyler Walters.

Finishing in third right behind them with a time of 9.55.61 were Jacob Domagalski, Andrew McFarland, Derrick Egli and Connor Schwartz. To conclude the outstanding results from this weekend, Alexander Porter placed fourth in the 400-meter dash with a time of 49.77 and Justin Scavarda took second in the shot put with a score of 16.67. 

After an unbelievably tough and long weekend of races and competition, the GVSU athletes are feeling excited about their school record breaks, but of course a little tired as well. 

“I think we’re in a good spot, we’ve probably got 70-80 percent of our individuals that we need in the meet that are going to make it,” said head coach Jerry Baltes. “We’ve still got a handful that need to throw a little further, jump a little further, and run a little faster. I think most people feel fairly positive after this weekend.”

Having so many athletes coming to GVSU was definitely intimidating because of how much work and time they dedicated to the meet, but the competition was fierce and it was an advantage to have it at home. It gives the athletes an opportunity to compete at a high level and get a feel for what they need to work on for the next two weeks. Ashland is their biggest competitor at the moment, so the fine tuning will begin this week so they can be in a good spot for the GLIAC Championships. 

“Ultimately you want to compete for a championship,” Baltes said. “We’re going to need to be ready and focused and take care of business when it’s time to step on a track or in a circle.” 

Their last opportunity to make qualifying scores will be at the Kelly Family Sports Center this Friday, Feb. 21 at 2:45 p.m. for the tune-up meet, and then they are finally stepping into the championships the following Saturday and Sunday to kick off spring break.