Track and field dominates SV
?Grand Valley State University’s most natural rival has generally been considered nearby Saginaw Valley State University, although the two squads looked to be cut from succinctly different cloths in a dual track and field meet hosted last Friday on SVSU’s 200-meter Ryder Center indoor track.
?The GVSU men’s team, ranked seventh nationally, handily dispatched the Cardinals by a tally of 95-43, setting 10 provisional marks while they were at it.
?“Our men’s long jumpers made some nice improvements,” said GVSU head coach Jerry Baltes. “Especially (sophomore) Brent Brock. Jesse Schwartz (sophomore) had a nice break through in the 200. Mohamed Mohamed (junior) had strong finishes in the open 400 and in the 4×400 relay and (junior) Jake Elbers had a nice improvement in the vault.”
?Not to be outdone, the Lady Lakers topped SVSU by a score of 85-50, holding onto their number one USTFCCCA national ranking and pacing nine more provisional qualifying marks.
?“Jenn Fuller (senior) had a nice effort in the high jump and Brittany Bannister (sophomore) and Kayla Addison (freshman soccer player) had nice races in the 200,” Baltes said. “Kalena Franklin had another very strong showing. She has been really leading our team in a positive manner and we are going to need her to continue doing so in order for us to reach our full potential as a team. Our throwers continue to make subtle improvements and had some strong marks from Kate Fox (senior) and Laura Schroeder (freshman) in the weight and a very strong mark from Sam Lockhart (senior) in the shot put.”
?Junior Kalena Franklin, who finished first in both the 60-meter hurdles (8.54 seconds), her signature event, and the 200-meter dash (24.94) set two provisional marks and was proud of her team.
?“The girls really dominated, top-to-bottom,” Franklin said.
Franklin is also excited for this weekends upcoming GVSU Big Meet that will be hosted at the Kelly Family Sports Center. Run over a two-day period, doors will open at 9 a.m. on both Friday and Saturday and the itinerary will be varied from its usual format.
“My coaches are probably going to have me run the 400 – that I’ve never, ever ran before,” Franklin said. “I’m nervous, but it’ll be interesting.”
Freshman Katie Shaheen is optimistic but precautious about the upcoming invite.
”The Big Meet will be a whole new experience for me personally,” Shaheen said. “In all honesty, I’m very intimidated by the number of competitive athletes that will be there, but I know our team is very connected and will make it feel like no matter what is happening we’re overpowering the whole track.”
Leadership, like the kind exhibited this season by Franklin, will be a major factor if the GVSU squads are to continue their success.
“I know it’ll be great to watch Jessica Janecke (sophomore) and Hannah Osborn (sophomore) in their events,” Shaheen said. “I’ve always felt that they have carried the distance team on their shoulders during practice and I know they’ll lead us to a great outcome.”
Shaheen didn’t travel with the team for the festivities, instead staying home to practice, but saw the experience as benefit to the cause.
“I didn’t run in the meet yesterday, but I think that getting out of our facility and comfort zone was great for the whole team and was a great step in the right direction for preparing our teams for different situations,” Shaheen said.
Baltes is also ready to take the next step and is pleased with the progress.
“We should really see some big improvements over the next few weeks as we progress our training to put us in a position to hit some big performances,” Baltes said. “Our squads competed well. We were able to stay focused and keep moving forward in a positive direction as we approach the championship season.”