Nesbitt, GVSU seniors shine at Tune-Up Meet
It was the final home indoor meet for the Lakers
GVL/Archive - Samora Nesbitt practices his jump on Feb. 17, 2016 in Allendale.
The Grand Valley State track and field Tune-Up Meet provides a last chance opportunity for athletes to earn a spot at nationals. For the Lakers specifically, it also serves as a chance to recognize the senior class as they compete in the final home indoor meet of their careers.
“They’ve put a lot of hard work, time, effort and energy into our program over the course of their careers,” said GVSU head coach Jerry Baltes. “It’s good to take a few seconds out of the meet to show a little bit of appreciation for all they’ve done.”
One of the seniors being recognized was triple-jumper Samora Nesbitt. Widely regarded by his Laker teammates as the team leader, it was important for him to end his time in the Kelly Family Sports Center on a high note.
He hit the highest note possible.
On the final home triple jump of his career, Nesbitt soared 15.45 meters (50 feet, 8.25 inches) to a new GVSU record, breaking his year-old record of 15.23 meters.
“It was exciting,” he said. “Last week I had a big foul, so I felt like it was going to happen eventually, and because it was my last jump in here at the crib.”
Nesbitt’s distance was just two centimeters short of an automatic qualifying mark for the national meet in March.
“It was definitely something that I had set as a goal for the year,” he said. “So to be two centimeters short is frustrating, but either way I’ll still take the jump.”
However, Friday’s performance was the fourth-best jump in Division II this year in the event, all but guaranteeing Nesbitt a trip to Birmingham, Alabama in three weeks for the national championship meet.
Chant’e Roberts was another Laker trying to use the Tune-Up Meet as a chance to raise her stock for nationals.
“I know how to finish, it’s just the beginning,” she said. “I know I can hold a smooth beginning, so now I just have to finish it strong. I know in my race where I can make up more seconds.”
The junior helped the women’s 4x400 meter relay hit an automatic qualifying mark last week and was looking to earn her own in the open 400. She needed to run faster than 56.07 seconds to place herself in the top 16 nationally.
Roberts did just enough, crossing the finish line in 55.99 seconds. With the conference championships next weekend, Roberts’ spot at nationals is far from guaranteed, but if the season ended today, she would be on her way to Birmingham.
“It makes me feel good and nervous at the same time to know that I’m not solidified yet,” Roberts said. “I’m already going, but it’d be really cool to go individually.”
Next up is the GLIAC Championship meet hosted by Findlay, a two-day competition beginning Saturday, March 25. The Laker women will look to win their 18th consecutive conference title, while the men will look to earn their eighth in a row.