Feb. 24, 2013
ALLENDALE, Mich. - The Grand Valley State men's track and field team picked up where they left off on day one, running away with the 2013 GLIAC Indoor Track & Field Championship on Sunday (Feb. 24), the fourth straight indoor crown they have won and the 13th out of the last 14.
Coming in to the meet, the Lakers were ranked fifth in the latest USTFCCCA computer rankings, while GLIAC foe Ashland was third. Before the meet, it was a difference of only three points between the two squads.
Following the meet, GVSU seemed to put an exclamation point on things, winning the indoor championship with 191.5 total points. Ashland was the runner-up with 115.5.
Two more school records were broken on day two of competition to go along with 20 NCAA Division II championship provisional qualifying marks and one automatic mark.
The first broken school record came from junior Steve Reives, whose performance on the final day of the men's heptathlon, finishing third in the 60 hurdles, second in the pole vault and fourth in the 1000 meter run, gave him a runner-up finish overall, a new school record of 4,942 points (4,869, Joey Latz, 2009), and a provisional qualifying mark that puts him 16th in Division II right now, just on the cusp of making the cut for nationals.
The other school record came from the 4x400 meter relay team, who broke the record for the fourth time this indoor season. This time, it was a team of all juniors, as Nathaniel Hammersmith, Chris Teitsma, Logan Hoffman and Mohamed Mohamed crossed the line in second with a time of 3:12.42, the fourth-best time in Division II. It appeared the Lakers would be the runners-up, but a disqualification of Ashland during the heat gave GVSU the victory in the end and 10 big team points.
One of the more surprising results of the day came in the 60 meter dash, where the preliminaries' fourth seed, sophomore Brent VanEnk, edged out front in a hotly-contested final, winning the event with a time of 6.92 seconds. In the final, the top eight finishers were all separated by only .08 seconds, including the top five being separated by .04 seconds.
The other individual win of the day on the men's side came via Kevin Leland, a senior in the pole vault. Leland cleared a height of 5.07 meters (16'7.5") and was tied for the top spot, but then came away with the victory following a jump-off. Junior Bret Myers also cleared 5.07 meters to finish third. Both of those marks are tied for the sixth-best in Division II this year and should easily qualify them for nationals despite only being provisional marks.
Also in the pole vault, another trio of Lakers scored points and hit provisional marks, with senior Raphael Gelo (4.97m/16'3.5") in fourth, sophomore Jeremy Horner (4.67m/15'3.75") in seventh and junior Jake Elbers (4.67m/15'3.75") in a tie for eighth, giving GVSU 23.5 points in the pole vault competition alone.
In the 200 meter dash, Hammersmith finished fourth with a time of 22.06 seconds, while VanEnk came off his 60 meter dash win to finish sixth with a time of 22.13 seconds, both provisional qualifying times.
In the 400 meter dash, the trio of Mohamed (fifth, 48.39), Hoffman (seventh, 48.55) and Teitsma (eighth, 49.13) gave a preview of things to come in the 4x400 meter relay, each hitting provisional marks and scoring a total of seven points in the team standings.
Freshman Ethan Barnes, already the owner of the GVSU school record in the 800 meter run and with the third-best mark in Division II this year, finished third in the event on Sunday with an automatic qualifying time of 1:50.32, which would be fourth in Division II this year if he didn't already run 1:49.98 earlier in the year. Freshman Nicholas Wharry (1:52.44) finished fifth and junior Jeremy Wilk (1:52.69) was sixth, both hitting provisional marks, to give GVSU 13 total points in the event.
Another 13 points in the standings came in the mile run, where junior Larry Julson finished second with a provisional qualifying time of 4:11.98. Freshman Ricky Perez was sixth with a time of 4:14.38, and junior Bryce Pulley was just behind in seventh with a time of 4:14.88.
In the 3,000 meter run, the Lakers again were well-represented, led by sophomore Alan Peterson finishing fourth in a time of 8:28.16. Senior Jake Isaacson (8:29.76) was fifth, while freshman Spencer Pageau (8:31.86) was eighth, tallying 10 points total in the event for GVSU.
Freshman Sean Wells, who was the top qualifier in prelims for the 60 meter hurdles, came away with a third-place finish in the finals with a provisional qualifying time of 8.11 seconds.
Junior Tendo Lukwago continued his triple jump hot streak, finishing second in the event with a mark of 14.56 meters (47'9.25") to earn eight team points for the Lakers.
Nine total team points were a result of the shot put, where senior Matt Armstrong led a trio of Lakers to score and hit provisional qualifying marks. Armstrong was fourth with a toss of 17.47 meters (57'3.75"), while freshman Darien Thornton was sixth (16.65m/54'7.5") and senior Donny Stiffler was eighth (15.92m/52'2.75").
Following the meet, Jerry Baltes was named the GLIAC Men's Indoor Coach of the Year for the fourth straight year and ninth time overall. Freshman Darien Thornton was named the GLIAC Field Freshman of the Meet after finishing second in the weight throw and sixth in the shot put.
The Lakers paced the field with 191.5 total points, while the rest of the standings went Ashland (115.5), Tiffin (66), Findlay (64.5), Hillsdale (61.5), Lake Erie (40), Malone (37), Northwood and Lake Superior State (25), Saginaw Valley State (24), Ferris State (10) and Ohio Dominican (3).
GVSU will now await word this week on who will compete in the 2013 NCAA Division II Indoor Track & Field National Championships on March 8th and 9th in Birmingham, Ala.