GVSU - Thornton Qualifies for Olympic Trials at GVSU Last Chance Meet
Provided by GVSU
Nick Kapatos - Sports Information Graduate Assistant
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ALLENDALE, Mich. – Grand Valley State track & field's regular season comes to a close with the conclusion of the GVSU Last Chance Meet on Saturday at the GVSU Track & Field Stadium and saw talented thrower Darien Thornton not only break the school record but qualify himself for the U.S. Olympic Trials.
Competing in the hammer throw, Thornton hit a distance of 70.45m (231' 2'') on his final throw of the event. Darien's throw qualifies him for the United States Track & Field Olympic Team Trials to the 2016 Rio Summer Olympics. Thornton will compete in the Trials on Wednesday, July 6, in Eugene, Oregon.
His mark breaks the school record in the event of 68.55m that he originally set at the Al Owens Classic this season. The senior's toss, an automatic qualifying mark for the upcoming Division II National Championships, puts him at the top of Division II and among the Top 10 in the NCAA regardless of Division.
11 other Laker athletes hit NCAA provisional qualifying standards in the field events on the afternoon. There were seven men's athletes to hit provisional marks, with four alone coming in the discus throw. Blake Dsonson hit 54.55m (179'), just shy of nabbing an automatic qualifying mark, while Mike Prestigiacomo hit a distance of 52.21m (171' 3''), Denzel Graham threw 51.45m (168' 9''), and Mike Moon made a 49.60m (162' 9'') throw. Moon also hit a distance of 58.36m (191' 6'') in the hammer throw, while Jay Lechner joined him by making a provisional throw of 55.22m (181' 2''). The final provisional mark came from Chris Saikalis, making a throw of 17.22m (56' 6'') in the shot put.
Four Laker women hit provisional marks on the afternoon. Kathryn Mills narrowly missed out on hitting an automatic mark as well as breaking the school record in the high jump by jumping 1.72m (5' 7.75''). Dajsha Avery hit a mark of 14.37m (47' 1.75'') in the shot put, while Mariah Mansperger made a throw of 46.91m (153' 11'') in the discus throw, and Kyra Hull made a 52.81m (173' 3'') throw in the hammer throw.
Today's meet concludes the 2016 outdoor regular season schedule for Grand Valley State. The Lakers will find which of their athletes will be heading to Bradenton, Florida to compete in the three-day 2016 NCAA Division II Outdoor Track & Field National Championships on May 17.