Jan. 18, 2013
ALLENDALE, Mich. - The 16th-ranked Grand Valley State men's track and field team hit 16 NCAA Division II provisional qualifying marks on Friday (Jan. 18) inside the Kelly Family Sports Center, including five victories at the Mike Lints Alumni Open.
Of the 16 qualifying marks, four of them came out of the weight throw, where perhaps the most impressive performance of the day happened. Freshman Darien Thornton was not far from an automatic qualifying mark, winning the event with a toss of 19,34 meters (63'5.5"), the third-best toss in NCAA Division II so far this year. Also hitting qualifying marks in the event were the next three finishers, all Lakers, including freshman Blake Donson (18.50m/60'8.5") in second, freshman Jay Lechner (17.53m/57'6.25") in third and sophomore Lee VanKampen (17.51m/57'5.5") in fourth.
A contrast to the wealth of underclassmen in the weight throw, it was a pair of seniors hitting provisional qualifying marks for the Lakers in the shot put, with Matt Armstrong winning the event with a toss of 17.74 meters (58'2.5") and Donny Stiffler placing second with a throw of 16.35 meters (53'7.75"). Armstrong's mark is the best in Division II so far this season.
Another four qualifying marks came in the pole vault, led by senior Kevin Leland's second place finish with a height of 5.00 meters (16'4.75"), the top height cleared in Division II so far this year. Finishing third was junior Bret Myers (4.90m/16'0.75"), while fifth and sixth were taken with heights of 4.75 meters (15'7") by junior Jake Elbers (fifth) and senior Raphael Gelo (sixth).
In the running events, it was the distance event of 3,000 meters earning the Lakers qualifying spots. Junior Larry Julson finished fourth with a time of 8:17.83, while sophomore Alan Peterson was eighth with a time of 8:24.72, both provisional qualifying marks.
A trio of Lakers finished in the top four of the 60 meter hurdles, but it was freshman Sean Wells leading the way, winning the event in a blistering time of 8.20 seconds, a provisional qualifying mark and more than three tenths faster than the runner-up. Senior Jacob Alexander was second (8.51) and sophomore Kaleb Radke was fourth (8.59). Wells also finished fourth in the 200 meter dash (22.28).
Wells joined the 4x400 meter relay team to hit another provisional mark, as he and juniors Nathaniel Hammersmith, Mohamed Mohamed and Logan Hoffman won the event with a time of 3:15.90 in the closest race of the day. Hoffman outleaned the anchor leg from Northwood to win by one one-hundredth of a second.
Hoffman also had strong showings in the 60 meter dash, finishing fourth (7.09) and in the 200 meter dash, where he was sixth (22.35). Hammersmith finished third in the 200 meter dash (22.24).
Sophomore Trent Chappell hit his first provisional qualifying mark of the season, winning the high jump competition after clearing a height of 2.05 meters (6'8.75").
Recording a pair of top three finishes in the field events was junior Tendo Lukwago, who came tantalizingly close to setting a new school record in the triple jump. Lukwago won the event with a mark of 14.47 meters (47'5.75"), just barely short of the school record of 14.54 meters that has stood since 2003 (Kirk Manchip). Lukwago also had a strong showing in the long jump, finishing third with a distance of 6.77 meters (22'2.5"), leading a group of four Lakers that finished in the top seven of the event.
The Lakers will participate in their first scored meet of the season next Saturday (Jan. 26), when GVSU hosts Central Michigan, Eastern Michigan and Hillsdale for the GVSU Quad Meet inside the Kelly Family Sports Center. The event will begin at 1 p.m.