GVSU indoor track men, women victorious at Bob Eubanks Open
It was the Lakers' first meet of 2017
GVL / Courtesy - Doug Witte Angela Ritter (center) competes during the the Bob Eubanks Open at the Kelly Family Sports Center on Grand Valley's Allendale campus on Friday, Jan. 13, 2017.
Grand Valley State track and field rolled into the new year with comfortable wins at the Bob Eubanks Open at the Kelly Family Sports Center Friday, Jan. 13.
The Laker women totaled 177.5 points over the course of the meet, just edging out Toledo (175.5). The GVSU men won by a more comfortable margin, tallying 140.5 points to outdistance North Central (111).
“We’re just trying to get back in the swing of things and knock some rust off,” said GVSU head coach Jerry Baltes. “We will keep progressing our training and keep building on our performances as we move forward.”
The highlight of the meet came early on in the women’s pentathlon. GVSU’s Grace Peterson, Kylie Mount and Jessica Gustad all competed, but it was Peterson who stole the spotlight. The junior from Spring Lake, Michigan was closing in on Jocelyn Kuksa’s school record of 3218 points, set in 2009, but she needed a personal best in the 800-meter run to pass Kuksa’s mark.
Peterson did just that, running the 800 in 2:31.70 to break the record by just five points with a total of 3223.
“She ran a gutsy 800,” said multi-events coach Steve Jones. “She knew she was close. It was going to take a personal best to get it, and she got it by less than a half a second. It was a great event for her.”
The Laker throwers also put on a strong showing. Both the men’s and women’s shot put and weight throw are strong events for GVSU, but one Laker had the strongest throw of her career.
Kyra Hull threw an all-time best distance of 19.60 meters in the weight throw, giving her the first automatic qualifying mark of her career, guaranteeing her a place at the NCAA Division II Indoor National Championship.
“It feels great,” Hull said. “It was my first time throwing the (20-pound weight) in five weeks. I’ve been throwing the guys’ weight a lot. So to get something light and see it go a good distance is really a blessing.”
Dajsha Avery and Kaylyn Hill also came up big in the weight throw, taking second and third, respectively. Avery’s 17.37-meter throw and Hill’s 16.60-meter heave earned them each provisional qualifying marks.
Avery also shined in the shot put, achieving a distance of 14.18 meters for her second provisional mark of the meet.
“We try to compete at a high level all the time, which is hard and tiring on everybody’s body,” Avery said. “So to be able to do that each meet, every week – because we have one every week – is pretty amazing.”
Chris Saikalis and Mike Moon represented the class of the throwers on the men’s side. Saikalis’ 16.76-meter throw in the shot put earned him first place and a provisional mark. Moon’s 18.76-meter toss in the weight throw was good enough for first place and a provisional mark as well.
The Lakers earned provisional marks in two other events. Gary Hickman raced across the finish line in 8.16 seconds in the 60-meter hurdles, and Hunter Weeks cleared the 2.06-meter bar in the high jump.
The Lakers will return to the track in one week when they host the GVSU Open Friday, Jan. 20 in the Kelly Family Sports Center.