GV Track and Field run away with GLIAC title for fourth straight year


Courtesy of GVSU Athletics

Josh Rochette, Editorial Intern

For the fourth straight year, the Grand Valley State University track and field team won the GLIAC title. With the regular season finished, both the men and women’s teams were looking dominant going into the GLIAC conference tournament on Feb. 27 and 28.

Both teams ended up doing just that. The men finished with 249 points and the women ended the event with 255.33 points. 

The women and men have stayed on top of the national rankings for most of the season, an impressive feat that showed off both the depth of the men’s roster and the raw firepower of the women’s roster. These rankings were reflected on the score sheet with both teams coming out on top with dominant wins. 

“The good thing about our sport is that the numbers don’t lie,” said coach Jerry Baltes. “It’s still a team sport so we still have to go out there and perform, but if we do that we will continue to be right around where we rank.”

When the men weren’t securing first place finishes, they were getting almost every other point for the event. In the men’s 800-meter for example, Ashland University’s senior Ian Johnson earned 10 points for first place, but GVSU earned 25 points across the five athletes who placed behind him.

The men’s team saw a handful of strong first-place finishes with freshman Caleb Futter in the mile. Freshman Andrew Hylen and senior Enael Woldemichael placed first and second in the 5,000-meter run respectively. Senior Justin Scavarda finished in first place for shot put and second in the weight throw.

Scavarda was named GLIAC Field Athlete of the Year following his performance, though both he and his coach know better than to soak up too much praise.

“He got in the next day and went to work just as hard as he did the day before,” Baltes said. “Justin is one of those blue-collar student athletes. He commits to his own personal growth as well as the team.”

Sacavarda has been with the team for the last 3 years and has gradually improved over since his debut.

“We went in and took advantage of our depth,” Scavarda said. “We outscored Ashland in the weight throw. That’s something that’s never happened since I was in college, so that was a big stepping stone. We did really well and performed the way we should have, and we didn’t really have any slip-ups.”

Moving to the women, they had at least one athlete in the top three finishes for every event except one. Even with the 400-meter finals, the Lakers scored at least 6 points across both the track and the field. This largely contributed to their 115-point gap over the runner-up, Saginaw Valley State University.

Senior Angelica Floyd got a first and second place finish in the 60 and 200-meter dash events respectively. Senior Sreenan Nicole qualified at nationals for the 60, the 200, and the 400-meter events. Ellianne Kimes was atop the four pole vaulters to both win the event and qualify for nationals.

There were several other events in which athletes from the men and women’s teams outdid the competition. They are now ready to take on the challenges of nationals. Despite the challenges that COVID-19 brings onto sports, the track and field team has found great success. They look to continue that trend as their outdoor season gets closer and closer.

Though the abrupt end to college athletics last year put a damper on some teams, it seems to have lit a fire under this one. Their dominating performance during the indoor season comes to a close on Thursday, March 11 in Birmingham, Alabama as the Lakers look to come out as NCAA champions.