GVSU Lakers Rack Up Qualifying Marks Across the Country
Provided by GVSU
The top-ranked Grand Valley State women's track and field team traveled to three different locations around the country this weekend to showcase their talents. The Lakers ended up hitting five NCAA Division II automatic qualifying marks and nine provisional marks.
GVSU sent two distance runners to Stanford, Calif. to compete in the Stanford Invitational and came back with two spectacular times. Senior Rachel Patterson (Rochester, Mich./Miami (Ohio)) finished 13th in the top heat of the 5k run with a time of 15:54.35, an automatic qualifying mark and the third fastest 5k time in school history. In the second heat of 5k, senior Betsy Graney (Harper Woods, Mich./William & Mary) won the race with a time of 15:56.68, hitting an automatic qualifying mark of her own and giving her the fifth-best 5k time in school history. The two seniors' times are currently the top two times in NCAA Division II this season.
The sprinters, jumpers and throwers all traveled to Durham, N.C. to participate in the Duke Invitational. Two automatic marks were hit at that meet, both in the field events for the Lakers. Senior Lauren Buresh (Stanwood, Mich./Morley-Stanwood) finished fifth in the shot put with an automatic qualifying mark of 14.96 meters (50'0") and was the highest Division II finisher in the event.
In the hammer throw, the Lakers placed three student-athletes in the top five, including the winner, junior Liz Murphy (Washington, Mich./Romeo). Murphy hit an automatic mark of 56.32 meters (184'9.25"). Provisional qualifying marks were notched by sophomore Alyssa Zokoe (Coopersville, Mich.), who finished third with a toss of 52.38 meters (171'10.25") and by junior Katelyn Fox (Belmont, Mich./Rockford), who was fifth with a throw of 49.65 meters (162'10.75").
Junior Jamie Smith (Hickory Corners, Mich./Gull Lake) hit a provisional qualifying mark in the discus, finishing sixth with a toss of 43.45 meters (142'6.5"), the highest Division II finisher in the event.
In the running events, sophomore Kalena Franklin (West Branch, Mich./Ogemaw Heights) won the 100 meter hurdles. She hit provisional qualifying marks in both the preliminaries and the finals, finishing in a time of 14.19 seconds in the prelims and 14.30 in the finals.
In the 800 meter run, senior Chanelle Caldwell (Toledo, Ohio/Indiana Tech) just barely missed out on an automatic qualifying mark. Caldwell finished third in the event as the highest Division II finisher with a time of 2:09.48 to notch a provisional mark. The automatic mark is 2:09.36 for the event, just .12 seconds faster than Caldwell's time.
GVSU placed three student-athletes in the top six of the 400 meter hurdle event, led by senior Jade Hull (Grandville, Mich.), who finished fourth with a time of 1:02.28, a provisional mark. She was followed just behind by sophomore Lisa Galasso (Orion, Mich./Lake Orion) who hit a provisional mark of her own with a time of 1:02.46. Sophomore Andrea Kober (Conklin, Mich./Sparta) just barely missed a provisional mark, finishing sixth with a time of 1:02.75.
The 4x400 meter relay team of Caldwell, senior Adrienne Chandler (Okemos, Mich.), sophomore Aileen Lemanski (Florence, Wis.) and sophomore Leiah Hess (Battle Creek, Mich./Lakeview) hit a provisional qualifying mark in their event with a time of 3:48.36, good enough for a second-place finish.
The 4x100 meter relay team, consisting of three freshmen and one sophomore, just barely missed a provisional mark. The team of freshmen Carly Scott (Schoolcraft, Mich.), Michaela Lewis (Flint, Mich./Central), Brittney Banister (Flint, Mich./Carman-Ainwsorth) and sophomore Brittney Jackson (Highland Heights, Ohio/Laurel) finished second with a time of 47.23, just .03 off the provisional mark pace.
Banister also showed her individual skills in the 100 and 200 meter dashes, placing as the highest Division II finisher in both events. Banister was 10th in the 100 meter dash with a time of 12.32 seconds and fourth in the 200 meter dash, crossing the line in a time of 24.68 seconds.
Hess was also the highest Division II finisher in the 400 meter dash, placing 11th with a time of 57.67 seconds.
The vaulters competed at the Michigan State Spartan Invitational and two Lakers came away with qualifying marks. Sophomore Kristen Hixson (Remus, Mich./Chippewa Hills), the reigning indoor pole vault champion, won the event with an automatic qualifying mark of 3.97 meters (13'0.25"). In fifth place and hitting a provisional qualifying mark was freshman Jacqueline Williams (St. Clair Shores, Mich./Lakeview), who cleared a height of 3.56 meters (11'8").
The Lakers will be back in action on Saturday (Apr. 14) when they head to the Hillsdale Invitational in Hillsdale, Mich.