GVSU Wins Three National Championships On Opening Day At NCAA Championships

GVSU Wins Three National Championships On Opening Day At NCAA Championships

Provided by GVSU

Mankato, Minn. - The Grand Valley State women's indoor track and field team, looking to defend its indoor team National Championship, opened the 2012 NCAA Indoor National Championships in fine fashion with a stellar 45 points on the opening day of competition. The Lakers scored 19 points in the first scored event (weight throw), followed by 16 in the pole vault and 10 in distance medley relay. Rounding out the top four teams is Ashland (14), Hillsdale (12) and New Mexico Highlands (10). The 2012 NCAA Championships are taking place on the campus of Minnesota State in Mankato, Minnesota and will conclude Saturday (March 10).

Laker junior Sam Lockhart (Lansing, Mich./Sexton) claimed the first individual National Championship of her career when she unleashed a NCAA Division II National Championship meet record throw of 67-06.00 on her final toss in the weight throw. Junior Liz Murphy (Washington, Mich./Romeo) finished second with a throw of 65-04.75, while junior Jamie Smith (Hickory Corners, Mich./Gull Lake) finished eighth with a throw of 60-02.00. All three Lakers earned All-America honors.

Sophomore Kristen Hixson (Remus, Mich./Chippewa Hills) claimed the first National Championship of her young career with a career-best vault of 13-01.50. Hixson, who now has three career All-America awards, finished fourth indoors and second outdoors at the NCAA Championships as a freshman. Senior Jocelyn Kuksa (Palatine, Ill.) earned her seventh All-America award with her third-place finish in the pole vault, clearing 12-09.50.

The women's distance medley relay team of Betsy Graney (Harper Woods, Mich.), Leiah Hess (Battle Creek, Mich./Lakeview), Lisa Galasso (Lake Orion, Mich.) and Rachel Patterson (Rochester, Mich.) crossed the finish line in an NCAA DII National Championship meet record time of 11:23.35. GVSU broke the previous record time of 11:24.54 set by Shippensburg in 2009.

Grand Valley State qualified several individuals through prelims Friday night. Graney finished first in the mile prelims (4:53.23), while Karie McDonald (Frankenmuth, Mich.) qualified fourth in a time of 4:57.12. Ashley Botham (Grand Rapids, Mich./FH Eastern) finished 11th (5:01.45) and Julie Nowak (Racine, Wis.) crossed 12th (5:02.1), but did not qualify for the finals.

Chanelle Caldwell (Toledo, Ohio) qualified for the finals in the 800 meter run with an 8th place finish in the prelims (2:14.27), while Kalena Franklin (West Branch, Mich./Ogemaw Heights) also qualified for Saturday's finals in the 60 meter hurdles with an 8th place finish (8.53).

In men's track and field, GVSU freshman high jumper Trent Chappell (Jenison, Mich.) finished 11th with a jump of 6-7.50.