Strutz headlines Bill Clinger Classic with new record for indoor track and field


GVL / Macayla Cramer

Madeleine Smith, Staff Writer

The Grand Valley State University’s men’s and women’s track and field teams hosted the Bill Clinger Classic last weekend. The Lakers performed at a high level, marking personal and program records.

One of the highlights from this meet was junior Lindsey Strutz’s performance, setting program record for the women’s pentathlon with a score of 3615 – a record that also ranked Strutz No. 12 in the nation for the event. 

“It feels absolutely amazing to break my old school record by so much,” Strutz said. “The past few years at GVSU I’ve had a lot of setbacks because of COVID and mental health issues. I’m glad that today everything fell together and I was able to perform as well as I did.”

This five-part event consists of separate competitions in 60 meter hurdles, high jump, shot put, long jump and an 800 meter dash. Strutz outperformed her previously held scoring record of 3361 from the 2022 indoor season as this past weekend she managed to take first place in all five events.

The women’s distance team proved their resiliency in the 3000m invitational on the track, taking four of the top five spots. 

Junior Kayce Rympa led the pack as she finished in first place (personal best of 9:51.85) as the third through fifth place were all Lakers: graduate student Grace Pagone (9:59.48), junior Sarah May (10:00.28) and sophomore Madison Ebright (10:03.98).

Three Lakers would also headline the women’s one mile invite as junior Natalie Graber (4:44.98), sophomore Lauren Kiley (4:51.46) and junior Maria Mitchell (4:53.04) finished first through third respectively.

“I’m so proud of all of my teammates, especially Destini (Dorkins) for (hitting a personal record) twice in the sixty meter hurdles today,” said sophomore Ashtyn Gluck. “She is progressing so well this season and I can’t wait to see everything she accomplishes.”

Dorkins, a freshman this season, finished fifth-overall for the women’s 60m hurdles with a time of 9.2 seconds.

This meet also featured great personal achievements for many members of the men’s team. 

The men’s long jump event was won by sophomore Caleb Taylor with a 6.96m jump with junior Chanse Setzke finishing second (6.84m), while junior Nathan Spitzley took the win for the men’s shot-put invite with a 16.07m distance. 

Senior Jackson Blanchard also shined in the men’s 60m hurdles as his time of 8.10 seconds (NCAA DII provisional mark) secured first place.

“There weren’t a ton of surprises (at this meet), just a ton of great races,” Gluck said. “A lot of people today had season PR’s as well as lifetime PR’s, which is not surprising to me given how hard each and every person works everyday.”

Both the men’s and women’s weight throw invites were also dominated by the Lakers. 

The men’s team saw senior Jacob Urban (19.57m), junior Shane Byrne (18.31m) and junior Bryce Reynolds (18.16m) swept the top three spots of the competition as all of their distances received provisional marks. On the women’s side: senior Judith Essemiah (19.76m) and junior Alaina Omonode (18.65m) took first and second place respectively with their provisional marks as well.

“A track season is about taking steps; you know with basketball, baseball, you gotta win every game,” said Head Coach Jerry Baltes. “But we’re building every weekend towards the conference championship and the national championship so we’ve just gotta keep making progress and taking steps forward.”

The Lakers will host the Snowdown Showdown meet Feb. 3 for a one day meet starting at 3 p.m.