ALLENDALE, Mich. -- Grand Valley State kicked off competition at the 2014 NCAA Division II Outdoor Track & Field Championships on Thursday at the GVSU Track & Field Stadium, claiming the team lead after day one behind a historic performance from a familiar female vaulter.
After Day 1 of competition, the Lakers lead the women's team race with 28 points, followed by New Mexico Highlands (15), Ashland (14), Pittsburg State (11), Central Missouri (10) and Adams State (10) to round out the top five.Kristen Hixson dominated the field in the women's pole vault competition, claiming the outdoor title with room to spare, hitting a new all-time Division II record in the process. Hixson was the final competitor standing after clearing 4.20 meters (13'9.25"), then proceeded to clear 4.30 (14'1.25"), 4.40 (14'5.25"), and then cleared 4.50 (14'9.25") on her third and final attempt, the final height setting a new championship, facility and GVSU record, putting herself at the top spot on the Division II all-time outdoor women's pole vault list. It is her third NCAA Division II national title (2012 indoor, '12 outdoor) and the 4.50 mark is the eighth-best women's pole vault in the world this year.
Also earning All-American honors in the women's pole vault was Jennifer Schornak, who finished fifth with a vault of 4.00 (13'1.5"). Finishing 12th was Jacqueline Williams (3.80m/12'5.5"), while 13th was Alexandra Kitz (3.80m/12'5.5") based on clearing the bar later than Williams, and Caley Faulkner (3.70m/12'1.5") finished 18th.
A pair of Lakers earned All-American plaudits in the women's hammer throw, as sophomore Laura Schroeder finished fifth with a toss of 57.64 (189'1") and senior Alyssa Zokoe was just behind in sixth with a throw of 56.40 (185'0") to give GVSU a total of seven points in the event. Freshman Jenae Linville finished 19th with a best throw of 48.14 meters (157'11").
The women's 4x100 meter relay team of Carly Scott, Kayla Addison, Michaela Lewis and Brittney Banister, participating in a preliminary competition, qualified for Saturday's finals by finishing eighth with a time of 46.64 seconds.
Sarah Talbott, competing in the long jump, had her best mark of the day in her first attempt, finishing 19th with a jump of 5.58 (18'3.75").
In the women's steeplechase prelim, the Lakers had a strong showing, as all three Lakers competing have advanced to Friday's final. Hannah Osborn had the third-best prelim time with a mark of 10:41.52, while Katelyn Cliff was seventh (10:47.22) and Jordan Chester was 11th (10:48.63).
Unfortunately, the same close-but-no-cigar situation plagued Andrea Kober in the women's 400 hurdles, as she was 11th in the preliminary round (1:00.99), only .18 behind the final qualifying spot.