Over the weekend, the track and field teams competed in California and at Grand Valley State on Friday, April 20, and completed the GVSU meet on Saturday, April 21.
Seven long and medium distance runners competed at the Bryan Clay Invitational, an extremely competitive meet featuring some of the best runners from across the country. The California weather helped the runners by practicing hand-offs in ideal conditions.
Impressive performances in California included a 21st-place finish with a time of 15:31.41 for Thomas Kean in the men’s 5,000-meter run. Senior Darby Meinecke took 11th in the women’s 5,000-meter run with a time of 18:23.49. Junior Dominique Adams competed in the same event and placed 22nd with a time of 17:41.41.
Adams was happy to compete in the warm weather and was also impressed with the large number of personal records (PR) recorded at the event.
“California has been a great experience,” Adams said. “We haven’t had the best weather for us to compete in, so being able to compete in warm weather was nice for a change. This was my first 5k of the outdoor season, and I was happy to be able to PR.”
The rest of the track team competed at the Al Owens Classic at GVSU, where the team posted impressive results across the board. For the women, Sam Warren took 25th in the 100-meter dash with a time of 13.05.
“We had so many athletes getting personal bests and running strong marks,” women’s distance coach Angelina Ramos said. “I thought that the younger athletes really stepped up and contributed to the team’s success today.”
In the women’s 200-meter dash, Sam Warren took 12th with a time of 26.15. In the 1,500-meter run, Jenna Keiser took 22nd with a time of 4:51.14. Isabella Garcia took 20th in the 5,000-meter run with a time of 18:56.11. Lauren Huebner had a strong third-place finish in the 400-meter hurdles with a time of 1:02.00.
In the women’s field events, Brooke Sutyak took 13th in the pole vault with a distance of 3.11 meters. In the high jump, Sarah Rezler took sixth with a jump of 1.55 meters. In the long jump, Donna Jean Eschenbacher took 10th with a jump of 5.20 meters. In the triple jump, Taylor Lucas took 12th with a distance of 10.00 meters.
Strong finishes for the men’s track team included Jamelle Russell in 18th place in the 100-meter dash with a time of 11.44. In the 200-meter dash, Juan Bowers took fourth with a time of 21.97, and Carter Eckhardt took sixth with a time of 22.16. In the 400-meter dash, Noah VanderVeen took ninth with a time of 49.97. In the 400-meter hurdles, Andrew Mudd took second with a time of 53.67. In the 4×400-meter relay, the team of Eckhardt, Bowers, Mudd and Sam Black took first with a time of 3:16.78.
“It was critical for the weather to be conducive to building upon the success we had the week before,” Ramos said. “The relays were actually able to practice today and build off their consistency and the school records that were broken last week.”
In the men’s field events, Noah VanderVeen took first in the high jump with a jump of 2.08 meters. Black took 10th in the long jump with a jump of 6.35 meters. VanderVeen had yet another strong finish in the triple jump, placing first with a jump of 13.73 meters. In the same event, Johnathan Johnson took fifth with a jump of 12.85 meters. Nick Endres took 10th in the shot put with a distance of 13.42 meters.
VanderVeen had an impressive day at the meet and was pleased with his two first places and new PR in the 400-meter.
“My favorite part of the meet was running a 49.97 in the 400-meter dash, since I have never broken the 50-second barrier in my career,” VanderVeen said. “I plan to continue working on my high jump and triple jump approach to prepare for a big performance in the next two weeks (at the conference finals).”
Out of 19 events scored, the women took 12th in the team rankings with a score of 13. The men took fifth with a score of 50, and the combined team score was good for seventh place. The men are currently ranked 24th in the nation. This is the first time the team has been ranked in the top 25 in program history.