The SVSU track and field teams finished in a combined fourth place this past weekend during a meet involving top Division I and II teams.
The Cardinals competed in the Grand Valley State Big Meet in Allendale, where the men’s squad finished in second and the women finished in 16th.
The teams’ combined ranking left SVSU behind Miami (Ohio), GVSU and Wisconsin-Milwaukee.
Head coach Rod Cowan was impressed with his team throughout the two-day meet.
“Considering how big the field was, I think we did a really good job,” he said. “Our athletes scored the most points we’ve scored as a team. Being able to go out and score as well as we did in the regional class field like that was really good for us.”
The meet, different from previous meets, was scored on a team basis.
The meet began on Friday with primarily field events and prelims. Anna Fochesato leaped into eighth-place in the high jump at 1.55 meters. For the men, junior Brady Watson finished fifth in high jump at 1.95 meters.
Jullane Walker took sixth in the 60-meter dash invite with a time of 6.93 seconds.
SVSU finished the day in 29th place as a team.
The Cardinals had a huge rebound the following day with big finishes by some top performers. Ce’Aira Richardson continued her stellar season with a second-place finish in the 400-meter dash open with a time of 56.92 seconds, snagging eight points for her squad.
“She’s a pretty tenacious young lady,” Cowan said of Richardson. “At this point, it’s really about trying keep her healthy, focused, and training at a high level so when the opportunity presents itself, she can take full advantage.”
In another open event, the women’s 60-meter hurdles, Lauren Huebner finished in eighth. Alicia Tomlin and her fellow runners took 10th in the distance medley open as well.
On the men’s side, SVSU’s 4×400-meter team took over the track with a first-place finish. In the 60-meter dash, Walker finished runner up, while Travon Phillips crossed the line in fourth in the 60-meter dash. Juan Bowers dominated in the 200-meter dash with a first-place finish at 22.12 seconds, earning 10 points.
Team leader Sam Black also came in clutch, finishing the men’s high jump in first place. Watson had a respectable third-place finish in the triple jump. Another top athlete, Ryan Kelly, took home gold in shot put while putting up 10 points for his team.
Cowan also expressed optimism about his team’s future.
“We have the ability to be a top-five team in our conference championship and a top-20 team in the national meet,” he said. “It’s a game of inches.”