Grand Valley State leads on first day of NCAA championships with weight throw
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. -- Senior Sam Lockhart successfully defended her weight throw national championship on Thursday at Day 1 of the 2013 NCAA Division II Indoor National Championship, winning the event with a toss of 21.05 meters (69'0.75").
The only events taking place on day one of competition were the men's and women's weight throw, and the Lakers picked up big points in both events.
On the women's side, Lockhart won the event, her second indoor national title and her fifth indoor USTFCCCA All-American nod of her career. Joining her in the finals was senior Jamie Smith, who had a toss of 17.94 meters (58'10.5") on her first attempt, but was unable to improve on the mark for the rest of the competition. Her best toss in the finals was 17.93 meters (58'10") and she wound up finishing just outside the scoring with a ninth-place result.
Junior Alyssa Zokoe was 13th in the prelims with a toss of 17.34 meters (56'10.75"), but was allowed to participate in the finals after her third toss of prelims was under protest due to a measuring error. However, Zokoe was unable to put up a mark that placed her in the scoring of the top eight, negating the protest.
The 10 points that Lockhart put up with her victory gives GVSU the lead in the team standings after one complete event.
On the men's side, a pair of Laker student-athletes earned All-American honors in the weight throw.
Freshman Darien Thornton, who entered the event as the third seed, barely snuck in to the top nine for the finals as his first throw of 18.41 meters (60'5") was the seventh-best in prelims and his next two tosses went as fouls. He was upstaged by fellow freshman Blake Donson, who threw 18.88 meters (61'11.5") with his last toss in the prelims to qualify sixth for the finals.
In the finals, Donson was unable to top his 18.88 meter mark and wound up finishing sixth to pick up three team points. Thornton had his best throw on his second attempt of the finals, hitting a mark of 18.82 meters (61'9"), but was just short of matching Donson's best toss. Thornton finished seventh to pick up two team points, giving the Lakers five points total in the event. Donson and Thornton were the two highest-finishing freshmen in the event.
Senior Donny Stiffler was 10th in prelims with a toss of 18.18 meters (59'7.75"), just missing out on making the finals by about seven inches. Sophomore Lee VanKampen finished 14th in prelims with a throw of 17.46 meters (57'3.5").
GVSU's five team points in the men's standings places them third overall, behind Ashland's 20 points and Indianapolis' eight points. Ashland had three student-athletes place in the top five of the weight throw, including the national champion.