GVSU - Murphy and Patterson Win National Titles on Day One

GVSU - Murphy and Patterson Win National Titles on Day One

Provided by GVSU

PUEBLO, Colo. - The top-ranked and defending national champion Grand Valley State women's track team got off to a fantastic start at the first day of the 2012 NCAA Division II Outdoor Championships on Thursday (May 24). Junior Liz Murphy (Washington, Mich./Romeo) and senior Rachel Patterson (Rochester, Mich./Miami (Ohio)) each won individual national titles to give GVSU 20 points after one day of competition.

 In the hammer throw, Murphy took home the outdoor title for the second straight year, registering a toss of 62.33 meters (204'6") to win the championship. Her second best throw of 60.91 meters also would have won the title, giving her the top two women's hammer throws in the event. In her three seasons of outdoor competition, she now has one second-place finish and two first-place finishes in the hammer throw at the national championship.

 Sophomore Alyssa Zokoe (Coopersville, Mich.) finished 11th in the event with a toss of 53.75 meters (176'4").

 The other big performance on the day came from Patterson in the 10,000 meter run. Patterson trailed the leader by nearly 200 meters at one point in the race and trailed by nearly four seconds with two laps to go. Patterson took over the top spot on the final turn of the race with only 100 meters to go to win the individual title with a time of 34:55.03 and score the Lakers 10 more points.

 Freshman Ann Marie Arseneau (Sturgis, Mich.) finished 16the in the 10k with a time of 39:34.84.

 In preliminary competition, freshman Brittney Banister (Flint, Mich./Carman-Ainsworth), who entered nationals with the 22nd-best seed time in the 100 meter dash, came home eighth in the qualifying round with a time of 11.90 seconds to earn her a spot in the finals on Saturday (May 26).

 In the 3,000 meter steeplechase, the Lakers entered three student-athletes in to the competition but only one was able to make it out of preliminary competition. Senior Betsy Graney (Harper Woods, Mich./William and Mary) won her heat of the steeplechase with a time of 11:03.44 to qualify second and earn a spot in the finals.

 Sophomore Hannah Osborn (Fort Wayne, Ind./Concordia Lutheran) finished 15th with a time of 11:33.28, while senior Karie McDonald (Frankenmuth, Mich. finished 16th with a time of 11:40.18.

 GVSU leads the field on the women's side after day one with 20 points. Central Missouri and Lincoln (Mo.) are tied in second with 10 points, while Winona State and Ferris State are both tied for fourth with nine points. Grand Canyon and Findlay are tied for sixth with eight points, while Lenoir-Rhyne and Northwest Missouri State are tied for ninth with six points.

 Action will get back under way at the Neta and Eddie DeRose Thunderbowl on Friday (May 25).