GVSU track and field teams win GLIAC Championships

Women claim 19th-straight victory while men earn redemption

By D'Angelo Starks | 3/1/18 1:22am

Eighteen. That’s the consecutive number of years that the Grand Valley State women’s track and field team had won the Indoor GLIAC Championships. And on Sunday, Feb. 25, they added one more to that number, making it 19 straight.

The women had a dominant performance this past weekend to add to their great run. The team scored a total of 253.50 points in the meet, while the second-place team, Tiffin, only scored 117. 

“With how it’s been the past four years, winning GLIAC’s every year, I try not to take it for granted,” said senior runner Angie Ritter. “Seeing how many points we racked up at GLIAC’s made me realize how good of (a) program we have and how blessed I am to be a part of a program that dominates.” 

On the other hand, the men also had a successful season. The men pulled out a close victory over Tiffin, scoring 186 as a team, while Tiffin scored 170. This weekend served as redemption for the Lakers, as they finished second last season.

According to senior Chris May, his team's feat of bouncing back to reclaim the top spot is one the Lakers will always treasure.

“There was some vindication coming from the year before where we had really struggled at the conference level," May said. "To come back our senior year and triumph over some great competition, it’s very exciting."

The Lakers now have a little over a week until the NCAA Division II Indoor Track and Field Championships in Pittsburg, Kansas, on Friday, March 9, through Saturday, March 10. A big point of emphasis for the team is making sure the runners get a good amount of rest and recovery from the minor injuries that come along in any given season. 

“The biggest thing when coming off of two hard days of competition like that is making sure we are recovered,” said coach Jerry Baltes. “We will look to have just one or two more good training sessions where we clean up some stuff ... technically in the field events and in the hurdles. There’s not a lot we can do fitness-wise. It’s more about getting down there in a good place mentally and physically.”

Over the course of the indoor season, all of the scores and times that individual runners post get put on a list for each different event. The team then has to declare which events they want their athletes to participate in. Then, the NCAA committee sits down and gets the best 307 athletes on both the men’s and women’s sides and announces those who will be moving on to Nationals. 

Ritter will be running in the 60-meter dash, the 200-meter and the 4x400-meter relay. 

“In both of the individual events I’m going into, I’m ranked towards the bottom. I’m not ranked to score (or) to make the podium, so I’m the underdog,” Ritter said. “I love being in that position because you don’t have the pressure going into the meet. It’s exciting.”

The Lakers who are not participating in the national meet are turning their focus to the upcoming outdoor season and preparing for it after spring break. The rest of the team will be traveling to Kansas next week to participate in the NCAA Indoor Track and Field Championships. 

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