No. 5 Grand Valley State claims fifth consecutive GLIAC title
HILLSDALE, Mich. -- Grand Valley State swept the GLIAC Indoor Track & Field Championship yet again, taking the victory at the Biermann Center on the campus of Hillsdale College on Sunday. It is the fifth consecutive title for the men, while the women have now won an astounding 15 straight indoor conference titles.
On the men's side, the Lakers tallied 162 points to edge Ashland in second (138.5). Tiffin was third (79), followed by Findlay (63.5) and Lake Erie (50.5) in the top five. The remainder of the men's field was Hillsdale (48.5), Lake Superior State (45.5), Saginaw Valley State (29.5), Northwood (21), Malone (10), Walsh (6), Ohio Dominican (5) and Ferris State (4).
The final day of competition yielded yet another GVSU record, as sophomore Sean Wells, for the second day in a row, set a new mark in the 60 meter hurdles on his way to a GLIAC Championship. Wells, who was the top qualifier for the finals, picked up the title after a 7.87 second performance in the finals, a new GVSU, GLIAC and Biermann Center record. It broke his own school record of 7.96 that he ran in Saturday's prelims. The 7.87 mark was just .02 off an automatic qualifying time, but it is the third-best time in NCAA Division II this year.
The first men's final on Sunday for the running events was the mile, where GVSU picked up a third-place finish from Ricky Perez (4 minutes, 13.59 seconds) and a seventh-place finish from Bryce Pulley (4:17.21), with Perez's time being a provisional qualifying mark.
Nathaniel Hammersmith picked up three points towards the team total in the 400 meter dash, finishing sixth with a provisional time of 49.32. The next event was the 60 meter dash, where Brent VanEnk picked up an eighth-place finish with a time of 7.00.
One of the most anticipated events of the entire weekend was the men's 800 meter run, where the GLIAC featured three of the top four 800 meter performers in all of Division II, including Ashland's Drew Windle, who had the second-best time in all of the college divisions and a top 15 time in the world, which was run at the Kelly Family Sports Center earlier this year. The race lived up to expectations, as Windle won the event in a time of 1:50.26, but was followed closely behind by Findlay's Dillon Webster (1:52.28) and then a trio of GVSU student-athletes. Ethan Barnes finished third (1:52.34), while Jeremy Wilk was fourth (1:52.96) and Joel Rietsema was fifth (1:54.01), all hitting provisional qualifying marks. The Lakers picked up 15 points in the 800 meter run alone.
From there, the Lakers took the top two spots in the 3000 meter run, led by Josh Moskalewski, who claimed the conference title with a time of 8:25.07, a new facility record and a provisional qualifying mark. He was followed closely behind by Alan Peterson with a time of 8:26.41, also a provisional mark.
The final running event of the day was the 4x400 meter relay, where the GVSU team of Hammersmith, TJ Burnett, Logan Hoffman and Mohamed Mohamed came across second in a provisional qualifying time of 3:17.58.
In the field events, the day started off on the right track with Trent Chappell finishing second in the men's high jump with a leap of 2.09 meters (6-10 1/4), a provisional qualifying mark. Tendo Lukwago also picked up half a point in the event, finishing in a tie for eighth with a jump of 1.94 meters (6-4 1/4).
Lukwago then picked up four points in his best event, finishing fifth in the triple jump after a mark of 14.26 meters (46-9 1/2). Samora Nesbitt finished seventh with a best effort of 14.14 meters (46-4 3/4).
One of the events GVSU needed to distance themselves from the competition in was the men's pole vault, and they did just that, led by Bret Myers' conference-winning effort as he lapped the field by nearly two full feet. Myers' mark of 5.20 meters (17- 3/4) was a personal best, is the second-best in Division II this year, an automatic qualifying mark and led a trio of Lakers who scored in the event. Jake Elbers finished fourth with a vault of 4.65 meters (15-3), while Patrick Fisch tied for sixth with a mark of 4.50 meters (14-9).
The final men's field event of the day was the shot put, where Chris Saikalis turned in an incredible performance. Saikalis finished second after a personal-best throw of 18.27 meters (59-11 1/4), a full one meter better than his previous best mark. Darien Thornton finished fourth in the event with a toss of 17.17 meters (56-4).
Following the meet, head coach Jerry Baltes was named both the men's and women's GLIAC Indoor Coach of the Year, his 10th honor on the men's side and 14th on the women's side.