The GVSU Sunday Rundown (May 19-24)
A summary of the week’s top seven sports stories
T&F TEAMS FINISH THIRD, SEVENTH IN NCAAs
The Grand Valley State University men’s and women’s track and field teams made the most of their home track advantage in the NCAA Division II Outdoor Track & Field Championships in Allendale over the weekend, as both squads came away with a top-seven finish.
The top-ranked GVSU women led all teams with 34 points after two days of action but could not hold off No. 2 Lincoln University (Mo.), which won the national title on Saturday night with 64 points. The Lakers finished in third place with 53 points.
Meanwhile, the No. 7 Laker men took seventh in the three-day event with 30.5 points while St. Augustine’s University ran away with its second championship in as many years with 112 points.
HIXSON BREAKS NCAA DIVISION II RECORD
Senior pole vaulter Kristen Hixson of the GVSU women’s track and field team was crowned a national champion on Thursday after a first-place performance in the final vault of her collegiate career.
Hixson cleared heights of 4.20, 4.30 and 4.40 meters in succession before the record-setting clearance of 4.50 meters, which was not only good enough for the third national title of her four-your career, but also the top outdoor mark in NCAA Division II history.
BRUGNONI NAMED NATIONAL PLAYER OF THE YEAR
On Friday, senior first baseman Giancarlo Brugnoni of the GVSU baseball team became the first-ever Laker to be named the Ron Lenz National Player of the Year by Daktronics. He was also the first player in program history to earn a spot on the Daktronics First Team All-America squad along with junior outfielder Jamie Potts.
Brugnoni led both GVSU and the GLIAC in home runs (17), RBI (70), total bases (126), walks (49), on-base percentage (.528), slugging percentage (.792) and putouts (426) this season while Potts led the way with league-high marks in batting average (.412) and triples (five). The team had three Daktronics All-America honorees – the second most in the nation – as junior second baseman Kevin Zak was listed as a third-team selection.
LAKER WOMEN WIN AGAIN AT NATIONALS
After racking up 358 points, GVSU claimed its seventh straight women’s team points trophy on Sunday at the American Collegiate Rowing Association (ACRA) Club National Championship Regatta on Lake Lanier (Ga.).
The GVSU women edged the University of California, Santa Barbara by 56 points for the victory, although UCSB won the overall team points trophy as its men also came away with a second-place finish.
SOFTBALL PLAYERS EARN ALL-AMERICA LAURELS
Third baseman Miranda Cleary and shortstop Briauna Taylor of the GVSU softball team garnered national recognition on Wednesday as the seniors were named to Daktronics All-America teams.
Cleary, who also earned a spot on the CoSIDA Capital One Academic All-America Team on Wednesday, was listed on the Daktronics All-America First Team while Taylor was awarded third-team plaudits.
FOUR LAKERS GARNER REGIONAL HONORS
Four members of the GVSU track and field teams were recognized with USTFCCCA regional awards on Wednesday night at the Grand Rapids Public Museum during the welcome banquet for the NCAA Division II National Championships.
Senior sprinter Kalena Franklin was tabbed as the Women’s Track Athlete of the Year, classmate and pole vaulter Kristen Hixson was named the Women’s Field Athlete of the Year, head coach Jerry Baltes was both the Men’s and Women’s Head Coach of the Year, and Nick Polk was recognized as the Women’s Assistant Coach of the Year.
GVSU HOSTS GOLF CHAMPIONSHIPS
Top-ranked Barry University earned its second national title in as many years in the NCAA Division II Men’s Golf National Championship last week at The Meadows in Allendale.
Barry outlasted conference foe Nova Southeastern University for the national crown, while Florida Southern College senior Tim Crouch also won a back-to-back national championship with an individual victory.