GVSU runners compete at Raleigh Relays
Lakers earn six provisional qualifying marks at meet
Grand Valley State track and field tested itself at the Raleigh Relays from March 25-26 on the campus of North Carolina State University.
Eight Lakers competed in the Raleigh Relays — three women and five men. Despite the lack of GVSU participants, the Lakers were able to reach six provisional qualifying marks during the meet.
This was the first appearance of the 2016 outdoor season by the Laker long distance runners. GVSU showed well despite being up against a majority of Division I competition.
Junior Chris May started the Lakers off on a high note, coming only a few seconds short of an automatic mark in the men’s 5,000-meter run on March 25. His time of 14:05.86 was good for 17th place.
“It was a huge highlight,” said GVSU head coach Jerry Baltes. “It was a 15-second personal record for him. He ran very well the whole race, very consistent. I’m pretty confident he’ll get in (to nationals). It’s great to see that breakthrough. For the last three years he has been stuck on the outside looking in at nationals, so this was a great performance.”
In the women’s 10,000-meter run, GVSU earned two more provisional marks. Senior Amy Cymerman cruised to a 17th-place finish with a time of 35:26.26. Finishing just four places behind Cymerman was senior Jessica Janecke with a time of 35:38.12.
“They were hoping for a little bit better,” Baltes said. “They weren’t feeling the greatest, but they still ran a hard, tough race. They can both run much faster than they did. It just wasn’t their day.”
The men followed Cymerman and Janecke in the 10,000-meter run with three provisional marks of their own. Senior Kyle Flores led the way, crossing the finish line in 30:01.79 to finish 26th overall. Finishing in 34th place was senior Chad Cini with a time of 30:25.32. Completing the race in 30:49.30 was junior Nate Orndorf, who finished in 47th place.
“Kyle Flores led the way,” Baltes said. “It was almost a personal record for him, but he was hoping for a little bit faster. That time got him in (to nationals) last year though.
“All three of them were solid. They’ve all got more in them, but you can only run so many 10,000s before your legs wear out, so we’ll have to pick and choose where they run going forward to try and get faster times.”
GVSU will continue to travel around the country in the upcoming weeks as it seeks out warmer temperatures and more consistent weather.
The GVSU track and field athletes will head two different directions on April 1 and 2. The majority of the team will travel to Charleston, Illinois for the EIU Big Blue Classic, while a select few others will make the trek to Stanford, California for the Stanford Invitational.
“We’ll probably send about 40 to 50 athletes between the men’s and women’s teams, and try to get things rolling at EIU,” Baltes said.