Finely tuned Lakers impress on senior day

Hammersmith sets school record in 400 meter dash

By Tate Baker | 2/23/14 10:38am


Sophomore Casey Routledge followed by fellow runner Junior Mark List (Mens 5000 Meter Run). GV / Emily Frye

Often times in sports, certain games, meets or matches can be overlooked due to a much bigger event on the upcoming schedule. These “trap” games often come with mediocre performances.

That wasn’t the case for the Grand Valley State University men’s and women’s indoor track and field teams at the GVSU Tune-Up on Friday, as both teams cruised in their final home meet of the season just one week before the conference championships.

“Their performances didn’t differ from what we’ve been doing up until this point,” head coach Jerry Baltes said. “I thought this meet served as a great warm-up for the GLIACs.”

The Laker fans were treated to one last performance inside the Kelly Family Sports Center for the 2013-2014 indoor season, and much like the meets leading up to it, the home teams were dominant.

GVSU combined to rack up 31 qualifying marks, 12 event victories and a school record.

“Everyone brought everything they had to the table today,” sophomore Blake Donson said. “There wasn’t any concern regarding this meet being overlooked because of GLIACs coming up. We’re looking good going into it.”

Senior sprinter Nathan Hammersmith highlighted the meet in the 400-meter dash by blazing through the finish line in 48.04 seconds.

Hammersmith’s time was good enough to break the school record of 48.29 seconds, which was set by Mackenzie Lucius in 2007.

“(Nathan) had one of the bigger performances of the day,” Baltes said. “It was great to see him break that mark, especially on senior day.

“He has always been on the verge of this kind of break-out performance. It was good to see his hard work pay off.”

Pole vaulting coach Lou Andreadis had his athletes in a grove, as the Laker women swept the top five spots.

Senior Kristen Hixson once again led the way by clearing with a height of 4.25 meters, while classmate Brett Myers also took home first-place honors with a vault of 5.06 meters.

“Credit all the work that Coach Lou has been putting in with those guys,” Baltes said. “We all know what Hixson is capable of, but it was really fulfilling to see everyone in that group come together and have the type of day that they did.”

Senior Kalena Franklin ended her regular season indoor career with yet another display of speed in the 60-meter dash.

Franklin, who on Tuesday became the third-straight Laker to be named the GLIAC Indoor Track and Field Athlete of the Week, posted times of 8.50 and 8.42 to win the event.

“I treated this meet as exactly what it’s called: a tune-up,” she said. “I’ve put myself in great position to accomplish what I want to get done at the GLIACs. This time around, I’m not really focusing on winning this or that event. For me, it’s really just about doing everything in my power for the sake of my teammates.”

The No. 2 Laker women and No. 5 Laker men will now gear up for the 2014 GLIAC Indoor Track and Field Championships, which will be held on the 200-meter track at Hillsdale College on Saturday and Sunday in Hillsdale, Mich.

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