T&F teams sweep SVSU, compete in N.C.

By Andy Smith | 3/30/15 12:48am

After having two weeks off to recover from the indoor national championships, the Grand Valley State track and field teams returned to action in two different states over the weekend.

With 21 of its runners competing at the Raleigh Relays in North Carolina, GVSU swept Saginaw Valley State in the annual Battle of the Valleys meet on Saturday in Allendale. 

GVL/Kevin Sielaff

GVSU's Kelso Griffin and Richard Johnson (left to right)

The men came away with a 90-56 victory; the women won 95-49.

“A meet like this shows our team has great depth,” said GVSU coach Jerry Baltes. “It’s good for our young kids to get in and race to win races, and have the chance to compete and win if they’re not normally in that position.

“We just have to keep improving as a team, get healthier and hopefully get a few national qualifiers each week so when conference comes around we can focus on winning that and get ready for the national championships.”

The men were led by All-American Darien Thornton, who is picking up right where he left off during the indoor season.

Thornton set the first qualifying mark of the season for the Lakers in the hammer throw with a mark of 66.69 meters -- one meter shy of the GVSU record -- and hit a provisional qualifying mark in shot put with a throw of 16.69 meters.

“It was my best season-opening throw, but I have lots of work to do to improve and get better,” Thornton said. “It was a good start but I am not finished yet.”

Thornton’s fellow throwers also came up big, as Chris Saikalis won the shot put (17.59 meters), Blake Donson finished first in discus (51.06 meters), Mike Moon took second in the hammer throw (57.19 meters) and third in discus (46.28 meters) while Jay Lechner placed second in discus (46.63 meters).

On the women’s side, GVSU’s pole vault crew showcased its depth by coming away with all three of the team’s provisional qualifying marks on the day. 

Jamie Roberts, Jennifer Schornak and Alexandra Kitz all hit the mark of 3.65 meters. Roberts was named the winner after she was able to clear it on her first attempt. Schornak finished in second place; Kitz came away in third.

In North Carolina, meanwhile, standout Sean Wells and the Lakers were also focused on setting the tone for GVSU’s outdoor season.

Wells was the only GVSU individual champion at the relays. He won the 60 meter hurdles and broke a school record in the 110 meter hurdles with his second-place time of 14.03. 

Ethan Barnes had a second-place finish as well, clocking in at 1:51.17 in the 800 meter dash, while Wuoi Mach took fifth in the 1,500 meter run (3:49.82).

Rebecca Anderson led the way for GVSU’s women by finishing second in the javelin throw (46.51 meters), Alisha Weaver came away with a third-place performance in the high jump (1.60 meters) and Amy Cymerman finished 11th in the 10,000 meter (35:00.94).

The women’s 4x400 meter relay team also came away with a solid performance, finishing sixth.

“We ran very well as a team, especially since it was early and our first meet of the season,” said Michaela Lewis.

GVSU returns to action this weekend at the Eastern Illinois Invitational in Charleston, Ill.

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