GV track and field dominates in second meet of season


GVL / Annabelle Robinson

Brian Bloom, Staff Writer

The Grand Valley State University men’s and women’s track and field teams competed in the GVSU Bob Eubanks Open this past weekend as many Lakers attained new personal records.

With this being their second meet of the season (first since competing on Dec. 9) and resting their long distance runners, Head Coach Jerry Baltes expected the team to have a tougher go at working off the rust on Jan. 14.

“You never know where you’re going to be following the holiday break,” Baltes said. “We saw a lot of positives across the board, but we certainly have a lot of work to do.”

On the men’s team, Lakers placed in different events, including junior Max Darling who finished first overall in the 60m dash with a time of 6.93 seconds while also placing third in the 200m dash (22.32 seconds).

“I’ve been putting in a lot of work in the offseason, just in the dark when no one is paying attention,” Darling said. “When no eyes are on you, the amount of work you put in is the amount of success you can get out of it. Just work hard and the results will come out how you want them to.”

Junior Myles Rhodes also secured a top-three position in the 200m dash as a new personal record of 21.79 seconds would help Rhodes secure first place (400m dash; 49 seconds flat).

“I had an indoor PR today (in the 200m), and made really good progress towards my goals,” Rhodes said. “Everything changes and fluctuates, but I was just really proud of the way I competed today and the way a lot of the team competed. It’s a testament to how mentally tough we are.”

Two upperclassmen, graduate students Jalen Kyles and Jackson Blanchard, also performed exceptionally well alongside their teammates; Kyles placed fourth in the 60m dash and second in the 200m dash, finishing with times of 7.09 and 21.80 seconds respectively, as Blanchard gained an NCAA Division II provisional mark in the 60m hurdles with a time of 8.14.

During the field events, GVSU saw freshman Justin Miller win the high jump with a height of 1.98m. Sophomore Caleb Taylor (6.92m) and freshman Luke Jelderks (6.84m) placed first and second respectively as freshman Harold Gee won the triple jump with a distance of 12.54m. 

The women’s events were dominated by Lakers sprinters as freshman Kate Zang won both the 60m dash (7.79 seconds) and 200m dash (25.23 seconds), sophomore Melia Williams finished third in both the 60m dash (7.93 seconds) and the 200m dash (25.86 seconds) and junior Isabel Abdouch won the 400m dash (58.98 seconds) and finished second in the 200m dash with a time of 25.66 seconds. 

Junior Lindsey Strutz also shined for GVSU as she finished second in the 60m hurdles with a new personal record of 9.59 seconds, winning the triple jump with a distance of 10.64m and winning the shot put with a throw of 11.95m.

While she said her finishing times in all three events were close to her personal records, Strutz knows that training during the off-season and the efforts continued during the course of a long season create the success she saw in the recent meet.

“We do a lot of technical work with high jump, long jump, shot put and we do a lot of running and lifting,” Strutz said. “All of the training combined together has just helped me to become successful as a whole.”

In the field events, junior Jenna Doyle tied for first place in the high jump (1.62m) as senior Judith Essemiah (19.2m) and junior Alaina Omonode (18.13m) finished first and second respectively in the weight throw, recording two NCAA Division II provisional mark distances.

As the reigning champions for the GLIAC and NCAA Indoor Championships, Baltes said he knows there is major potential for the Lakers to repeat the same successes as the previous season.

“We’re in a good spot to build on and move forward week-to-week and towards the conference championships and NCAA championships,” Baltes said.

The Lakers will prepare for their next two meets as they travel to Chicago for the Blue Demon Alumni Classic on Jan. 20 followed by the GVSU Mike Lints Alumni Meet on Jan. 21 starting at 1 p.m. in Allendale.