Archive for February 2013
GVL Staff Writer
Round and round the Grand Valley State University track and field student-athletes go like an old 45-rpm vinyl LP on a rotating turntable. Year after year, meet after meet, championship after championship, they keep running and the same track keeps playing along as spikes operate like styli across the rubber surface. This year, the program will send 40 of their student-athletes south to Birmingham, Ala. to compete in the 2013 NCAA Division II Indoor Track and Field National Championship. Just what Grand Valley needed, another broken record.
The entry field for the meet, which will be held March 8-9, was expanded this year by 70 slots, but GVSU will have its largest and quite possibly most balanced representation in the program’s history and that’s an accomplishment in and of itself.
“We’ve got a lot of good kids in,” said GVSU head track and field coach Jerry Baltes. “I’m confident in the kids we have toeing the line, getting on the runways and in the circles. Now the objective is to go down there and score as many points as possible. We just need to go down there and compete and if we do that, good things can happen.”
The men’s side will send 14 total entries and 19 student-athletes, including seniors Matt Armstrong (shot put), Donnie Stiffler (weight throw), Raphael Gelo (pole vault) and Kevin Leland (pole vault), juniors Bret Myers (pole vault) and Tendo Lukwago (triple jump), sophomores Trent Chappell (high jump) and Lee VanKampen (weight throw), freshmen Ethan Barnes (800-meter), Blake Donson (weight throw) and Darien Thornton (shot put/weight throw), as well as two relay teams – the distance medley relay team consisting of freshmen Nick Wharry and Daniel Pung, junior Jeremy Wilk and senior Larry Julson, and the record breaking 4×400 all-junior squad of Nathaniel Hammersmith, Chris Teitsma, Logan Hoffman and Mohammed Mohamed.
The women have 23 entries of their own and will send 21 athletes. Seniors Sam Lockhart (shot put/weight throw), Jamie Smith (weight throw) and Monica Kinney (mile), juniors Kalena Franklin (60-meter hurdles), Kristen Hixson (pole vault), Lisa Galasso (800-meter), Courtney Brewis (5,000-meter), Madie Rodts (3,000-meter), Molly Slavens (5,000-meter) and Alisha Weaver (high jump), sophomores Brittney Banister (60-meter dash), Michaela Lewis (60-meter dash), Jessica Janecke (3,000/5,000-meter runs) and Jacqueline Williams (pole vault) and freshmen Alyssa Zokoe (weight throw), Katelyn Cliff (mile), Allyson Winchester (3,000/5,000-meter runs) and Allison Work (mile) all made the cut.
They will also be sending their respective DMR team of juniors Lisa Galasso and Andrea Kober and sophomores Jessica Janecke and Hannah Osborn. The 4×400 relay team comprised of juniors Andrea Kober and Kalena Franklin, sophomore Brittney Bannister and freshman Brittany Terry will also all make the trip.
The women will be tasked with defending their title as favorites and the men will compete for their first top four placing since 2008. Both units will look to continue their recent success this season.
“You got three sides of it,” said sprints, hurdles and relay coach Keith Roberts. “You got the people who go crazy and do above and beyond, you’ve got the people who do what they did to get there and you’ve got the people who fall apart. If you do what you did to get there, chances are you’re going to do well.”
If GVSU is to finish the indoor season off with a few more hits, it’ll be done as a team.
“What’s driven Grand Valley is the team and so I think to have more of us there is only going to help,” said GVSU distance coach Nick Polk. “From seeing each other compete, to cheering, to motivating each other, I think having the big team is what’s going to spark us to do something we’ve never done.”
No matter how the championships turn out or how many records they break, the focus will remain on the process.
“The way I look at it, every day I’m here to help kids get better,” Baltes said. “If that means hopefully winning a national championship, outstanding. But my primary focus and duty is to help these kids now and tomorrow and two weeks, two months, two years (to) get better. You have to focus on the day-to-day process, and if you do that good things will happen for you at some point.”
To read the original post “GVSU’S largest field set to compete at nationals”, click here at the Lanthorn online.
GVL Staff Writer
Track and field is a demanding sport and a daily grind, but the athletes that can conceal the pain and run through discomfort always prosper. In a sport where perseverance through pain is placed at a premium, the fastest runners are generally the smoothest.
It’s hard to imagine that senior Monica Kinney’s career as a member of the Grand Valley State University track and field team could have possibly gotten off to a smoother start.
As a freshman, Kinney took first in both the 800-meter and distance medley relay GLIACfinals, and finished third at the indoor nationals with a time of 4 minutes, 48.98 seconds in the mile. She followed that up with a GLIAC indoor championship in the mile (4:57.30) and DMR in her sophomore season.
Not to be outdone, Kinney’s junior indoor season was one for the ages. She finished 2011 with seven first place finishes, won two individual national titles at the Division II Indoor Championships, finishing first in both the mile (4:44.41) and 5,000-meter (16.26.02) distances and was a named a three-event All-American.
Her outdoor track resume through three seasons is equally impressive and her value to the program cannot be understated. In 2011, the GVSU women became the first program to sweep the national championship circuit with titles in cross-country, indoor track and outdoor track in a calendar year and Kinney’s contributions were integral to accomplishing the feat. Along the way, she broke two school records, the mile (4.43.24) and 3,000-meter run (9.22.75), records she still holds today.
Kinney made it all look effortless, but in what was to be her senior season, the daily grind finally got the better of her. A nagging right knee injury endured during cross-country developed into stress fractures, forcing her to declare a medical redshirt. For Kinney, it was time to demonstrate her capability to persist. Earlier this season, she re-aggravated the same knee with a fresh bout of stress reactions. However, Kinney was determined to stick around to finish.
“She’s very stubborn,” said GVSU head coach Jerry Baltes. “She’s stubborn when the gun goes off and she’s going to give it her all to compete to the best of her ability.”
It took almost a month without running, and a steady regiment of cross-training which included cycling, jaunts on an anti-gravity treadmill and regular pool sessions with older sister Erin, a former distance swimmer with the GVSU swim and dive program. Kinney, a former high school swimmer herself, never wavered in her commitment to the training, even when forced to pursue unconventional methods that required great amounts of self-discipline.
“She’s really driven, really motivated and she’s able to cross-train at a really high level,” said GVSUdistance coach Nick Polk. “She’s able to do stuff on her own on a really high level without coaches having to be there to push her to do it. That’s the drive that made her good. That’s what makes good at getting back to being healthy.”
In her first meet back this year, the GVSU Tune Up, Kinney was slated to run in what had become her signature event, the mile, and wasn’t sure what to expect.
“Oh my gosh, I was nervous,” she said. “I had only run like 15 minutes for the past five days. I was in tears on the line and was like, ‘I don’t know if I’m going to finish.’”
Not only did Kinney finish, she finished with a vengeance, taking second place in the event. With her provisional qualifying mark secure, the Lakers took home their 14th consecutive GLIACChampionship and Kinney nabbed an individual GLIAC title in the mile (4.55.08).
Kinney, a nursing major, wouldn’t mind hanging around the program as a graduate assistant to continue recouping lost time. The next stop along Kinney’s road to recovery will be Birmingham, Ala. for the Division II Indoor National Meet. A meet that will provide Kinney one more chance to do what she does best – continue to run.
“I’m just happy for her and happy for the team and I’m excited to see what she can hopefully do the next two weeks,” Baltes said. “I’m not surprised. She’s talented, she works hard and does the right things. I’m not going to put any pressure on her and say she’s got to do one thing or another. Just get in there and compete, make the finals and see what she can do. If we can have another ten days of good training, I think she can drop some more time and score well at the national meet.”
To read the original post “Kinney finds familiar success after suffering injuries”, click here at the Lanthorn online.
GVL Staff Writer
The GLIAC seemingly improves as a conference every year, a trend that holds true for the indoor track and field ranks, but Grand Valley State University track and field is still running a leg ahead of the rest.
The GLIAC Indoor Championship hosted Saturday and Sunday at the Kelly Family Sports Center, was a testament to this claim as the Laker program once again left the competition in it’s wake. The visiting teams exited the premises, but both the men’s and women’sGLIAC championship trophies stayed in Allendale for another year.
The No. 1 women’s side, captured their 14th consecutive title, and did so in dominant fashion topping runner-up Ashland by a 130-point margin. The No. 4 men’s team out ran the second place No. 3 ranked Ashland by a decided 76-point gap for their fourth consecutive title and 13th in 14 tries.
“We hosted this conference meet in our building and I’m really proud of both teams,” said GVSUathletic director Tim Selgo. “We’ve got a great tradition here and they did a wonderful job of upholding our tradition in high-level fashion winning both the men and women’s GLIACChampionships. It was really nice to see all of their hard work rewarded this weekend.”
Senior Sam Lockhart was as dominant as ever, besting her own school record in the weight throw as well as the GLIAC Championship record with a toss of 21.50 meters and collecting GLIAC field athlete of the year honors. It was the farthest throw measured in Division II this year by over a foot and a half.
Ashland’s Katie Nageotte set a new GLIACIndoor Championship and Kelly Family Sports Center record mark of 4.33 meters in the pole vault and outdid junior Kristen Hixson, but Hixson cleared a school record mark of 4.23 meters, the third-best mark in Division II this year, and figures to be a major factor in competition at nationals.
The resurgent senior Monica Kinney won the mile with a time of 4 minutes, 55.08 seconds and was proceeded places two through four by Laker teammates sophomore Jessica Janecke and freshman Allison Work and Katelyn Cliff.
Darien Thornton was named the GLIAC Field Freshman of the Meet after finishing second in the weight throw and sixth in the shot put.
Junior Steven Reives set a school record in the heptathlon with 4,492 points and the 4×400 relay team consisting Juniors Nate Hammersmith, Chris Teitsma, Logan Hoffman and Mohammed Mohammed lowered heir record mark once again with a time of 3:12.42, the fourth fastest time run in Division II this season.
Senior pole vaulter Kevin Leland and sophomore sprinter Bent VanEnk chipped in with surprise victories in their respective events and the men’s DMR relay team consisting of freshman Nick Wharry, Dang Pung, junior Jermey Wilk and senior Larry Julson set a building mark with a time of 9:53.34.
Highlight performances were accumulated by the Lakers throughout the weekend and couldn’t have come at a better time, but there is still plenty of work left to be done.
“We’ve got to keep our nose to the grindstone, we’ve still got two more weeks or so,” Julson said. “We’ve just got to keep putting in the work and put it together on the day. On any given day, anything can happen. That’s the approach we’re taking, especially with the DMR (distance medley relay). We’ve always said if we can get there, we can put it together and then hopefully do some big things. We’re pretty excited about that.”
As it stands right now, it’s expected that GVSU will have between 10 and 15 men and around 20 ladies representatives at nationals. The women will once again be the favorites and the men have an outside shot at a top four finish.
“I think it’ll be one of the larger groups we’ve taken as a whole,” said GVSU distance coach Nick Polk. “We’ll spend this next week tuning up, getting excited and hopefully defend our title and place a lot higher on the guys side.”
The final declaration list will come out this afternoon and by tomorrow, GVSU will know who will be making the trip to Alabama for nationals. For all those invited, the stakes will be as high as ever.
“It’s not a field trip, it’s not a vacation,” said GVSU head track and field coach Jerry Baltes. “We’re going down there to take care of business and hopefully do some great things. It’s not going to be easy, but if we keep doing what we’re doing and go in there focused and ready to compete, good things can come out of it for us.”
To read the original post “Some things never change”, click here at the Lanthorn online.
GVL Staff Writer
Dr. Donna Lopiano has dedicated her life to invoking change in the world, but when it comes to introducing herself at speaking engagements, she rarely deviates from divulging her childhood dream in one succinct line.
“When I was four, all I wanted to be was a New York Yankee,” Lopiano said.
Lopiano never made it into pinstripes – there were still no girls allowed when she signed up for Little League at age 11, although there was little else she was not able to accomplish and experience in sports.
Coach, athletic director, chief executive officer of the Women’s Sports Foundation and president of Sports Management Resources, Lopiano is consistently listed as one of the top 10 most powerful women in sports and is a member of several halls of fame, where she is immortalized with such names as Julius Irving, Marv Albert, Sandra Day O’Connor and Sally Ride (the first woman in space).
Through it all, it would appear as though Lopiano has barely broken a sweat, a trick she learned during her time with the Raybestos Brackettes.
Bitter to this day about not being permitted the opportunity to become the next great Yankee, Donna Lopiano did play professional softball for a decade. Her career started with the Raybestos Brackettes at age 16 and although her accomplishments would be many, she absorbed a lesson that would stick with her the rest of her career during her first practice.
On a championship team, Lopiano was informed that on the Brackettes, players were to make things look easy, no matter how difficult the task.
“When you make things look easy, it really is intimidating to your opponent,” Lopiano said.
Today Lopiano puts her gender equality and sport administration expertise and experience to use as a public engagement speaker. On Saturday, she made the trip to Grand Valley State University to help celebrate the 40th anniversary of the Title IX legislation.
Lopiano was keynote speaker at the Celebration of Women in Sport and Physical Activity reception hosted Saturday in the Alumni House which honored Joan Boand, former GVSU jack of all trades coach and professor emeritus of physical education, and Patti Rowe, GVSU professor of movement science, with an endowment fund that will support professional development opportunities for students. Lopiano also spoke at the Leadership Summit held in the Kirkhof Center. She helped to illustrate the progress that has been made.
For many in the over-capacity crowd that were drawn to the Alumni House for the proceedings, which included GVSU faculty, students and a slew of alumni, the impact was felt.
“Working in athletics, I became very well versed in it (Title IX), but today makes it hit home as far as what it really did,” said GVSU associate athletic director Keri Becker. “I was born in 1972 so I feel like I’m a Title IX baby. I never knew what it was to not have an opportunity. What it means today to see all those people who made that happen gives it more impact than I ever thought it would have.”
Lopiano also made a point to emphasize that although progress has undeniably been made, there is still a long ways to go before full equality might be achieved. Many in the audience are prepared to pick up the fight where their predecessors left off.
“Well I think at this point it transcends gender,” Becker said. “I think anything we can do from an athletic standpoint to be more diverse and inclusive as a whole, that’s where our focus should be. It’s about race, it’s about socioeconomics and I think athletics have a unique position to be one of the most diverse. That’s how we need to lead.”
Rachel Gladstone, GVSU sports leadership alum and student affair and leadership graduate assistant, helped to coordinate both events and walked away inspired. There may not be a female Yankee pitcher next season, but there are plenty of strides yet to make.
“Just because Title IX was 40 years ago and there have been changes, it’s not the only thing that can be done,” Gladstone said. “No matter who you are or where you are in life, you can do something.”
To read the original post “GVSU celebrates 40th anniversary of Title IX”, click here at the Lanthorn online.
GVL Staff Writer
Senior Kayla Addison made a career of running past defenders.
During her four years as a starting forward on the GVSU women’s soccer team, Addison contributed to an 84-3-13 record and helped to bring home two national championships. She finished her run with the Lakers fourth in career goals (58), fourth in career points (142), fourth in career game-winning goals (16) and eighth in assists (26). With little left to accomplish on the pitch, Addison had no choice but to take her running to the track.
“It was my first sport. I ran it for like 10 years and then I just stopped to do college soccer,” Addison said. “Then the opportunity came for me to do it again so I thought it’d be a good idea to get back into it.”
A graduate of Detroit Country Day High School, Addison hadn’t competed in track since high school.
“Soccer, my arms kind of flail everywhere and I’m tenser,” Addison said. “But here they want me to have my arms straight and more relaxed and not so tense.”
Competing in the 60-meter, 200-meter and the occasional 4×400, Addison has seen improvement in every meet. Last week in theGVSU Tune-up, her strides culminated in two event victories and two NCAA Division II provisional qualifying marks which will extend her season into the GLIAC championships to be held this Saturday and Sunday at the Kelly Family Sport Center.
Finishing third in the 60-meter dash prelims, Addison out-leaned talented sophomore teammates Michaela Lewis and Brittney Banister by a few thousandths of a second in the finals with a time of 7.73 seconds, a personal best. She followed up the winning performance with another personal best in the 200-meter dash, her preferred race, with a time of 25.09.
“There’s stuff that’s a little different from learning when I was younger,” Addison said. “Coach is actually a little surprised because it only took me like a month to actually look like a track runner and not like a soccer player anymore.”
“As far as just running, she has a great stride, great gait, good power – that’s been natural for her,” said GVSU head track and field coach Jerry Baltes. “She’s been away from the starting blocks for quite some time, so that’s something she’s getting better at every time she steps in them. That’s a huge deal in the 60 and the 100, so if she can keep fine-tuning that aspect, she’ll drop a lot of time over the next few weeks and months.”
For more than just her speed, Addison has been a welcome addition to the team that had an already deep female sprint squad.
“She was always one of the fastest girls on the soccer field and she’s definitely a good addition to the team,” said sprints, hurdles and relay coach Keith Roberts. “She works hard, she’s a great kid. She’s helping us now, but I think in the long run she’s really going to be a huge impact to the team’s success.”
With a year of school left to complete in the College of Education, Addison’s future as a student athlete after this year is unknown.
“She’s someone that I think has a huge upside,” Baltes said. “If she does stick with it over the course of the next year, in her fifth year of school, I think she could do some great things down the road for us.”
To read the original post “Addison finds success on the track after a successful soccer career”, click here at the Lanthorn online.
GVL Staff Writer
There are few things in life that are lasting, a truth that seasoned Grand Valley State University men’s Division II club hockey coach Mike Forbes is well aware of.
“I’ve always told the guys and continue to preach there is nothing in sports that is permanent,” Forbes said. “Your win/loss record is one thing, but just because you’re going well one day doesn’t mean that’s going to continue. Things always change.”
For Chad and Brad Wilhelm, the two leading goal scorers for the Lakers this season, being brothers is one of the rare constants.
Chad, the eldest Wilhelm and a junior, and Brad, a sophomore, grew up in Carmel, Ind. playing hockey together in the backyard. Surprisingly, this season was only their second ever playing together. The dividends produced from the pairing so far have been tantalizing.
No. 22 Brad Wilhelm leads the team in goals (23), points (48) and is second in assists (25). Chad Wilhelm, No. 17, is second to Brad in goals scored (22), sixth in assists (15) and fourth in total points (37). That’s 45 goals (26.3 percent of the team’s total), 40 assists (16.6 percent) and 85 points (20.63 percent) contributed by the Wilhelm family.
The Lakers boast a record of 24-5-3 on the season and have secured a berth in the American Collegiate Hockey Association (ACHL) Division II championship slated to begin March 15. The Wilhelm brothers have played a major role in the team’s winning equation and have made their impact felt in more than just the stat sheets.
“I would say Brad, although he’s a leader in scoring, he’s not a vocal leader in the locker room,” Forbes said. “Chad on the other hand is a lot more vocal. We look to different people and their leadership capacity and both of those guys lead, not only in point getting, but they are also a positive influence in the locker room. That goes without saying.”
In most sports, being offensively proficient can be used as an excuse to neglect defense. Forbes and the Wilhelm brothers understand that in hockey, one can’t be had without the other.
“We ask that all of our guys are responsible defensively and they’ve bought into that,” Forbes said. “Sometimes when you have somebody that’s gifted offensively, the biggest challenge you have is to get them to cutback and work in your own zone, and that hasn’t been an issue with either of the Wilhelm brothers.”
They may share a name, but both Chad and Brad’s playing styles are distinctly their own.
“Chad’s got a really good shot, he can put it on net really well,” Brad said. “I’m much more of a passer, much more of a finesse player. I think together we bring a lot of speed and athletic ability.”
The roles between the brothers are also uniquely established.
“I mean, of course big brother’s always going to stand up (for) little brother,” Chad said. “Whenever I see him get hit, I’m the first one to yell at the refs. We always try to help each other out. That’s a big part of being brothers, right?”
To balance point disparity and to maintain balance, Chad and Brad generally skate on separate lines with players that best compliment their individual skill-sets. They have enjoyed using their competitive efforts as teammates for a change, instead of against each other, and could continue do so for at least another year.
For their chemistry, talents and the brotherhood they put on display, coach Forbes couldn’t be more pleased.
“We’re lucky to have them,” Forbes said. “They’ve been consistent offensive performers the last two years and they’ve both elevated their game this year. We’re also fortunate in that we have that kind of camaraderie not only with those brothers, but with other guys in the room. We’ve got a pretty tight-knit group.”
To read the original post “Wilhelm brothers set tone for GV hockey”, click here at the Lanthorn online.
After an early Friday night finish at the 2013 GVSU Tune-Up, Jerry Baltes, Grand Valley State University’s head track and field coach, gathered his team together.
“Next Saturday, Sunday, a good portion of you will be competing,” Baltes said. “A good portion of you will not be competing. Fifth year seniors, seniors, this is your last go-around for some of you. Freshman, you’re thinking this is my first time I’ve got four more left – it goes fast, don’t take it for granted.”
For many of the 23 seniors on the team, this was the last competitive meet they’ll run as Laker indoor track athletes. The 2013 senior group featured eight student-athletes who have earned 34 All-American decorations, won 11 GLIACtrack and field championships between the men and women, and claimed four individual track national championships.
“They’ve all been a huge part in helping our kids take it to that next level,” said GVSU sprints, hurdles and relay coach Keith Roberts. “Bringing a great attitude to practice and meets.
Just demonstrating what Grand Valley’s all about, and that’s being great people and great athletes. I felt like they carried that with them. This is a hard sport. To do this day in and day out for four or five years is a grind and they made it through it.”
GVSU’s track and field success can be traced back to older classes. The seniors have always set a precedent for the underclassman to follow.”
“Those groups set the standard for everybody else,” said GVSU distance coach Nick Polk. “That’s why we’ve been so successful. The older group always sets the standard for the young people. All-Americans don’t become commonplace, but it’s an expectation for everybody. I think that’s what that group did – learn from the kids before them and pass it on.”
For Baltes, it’s never easy to see a class leave that has made such a positive impact on the program.
“All of our classes over the years have done awesome stuff,” Baltes said. “You hate to think about losing those good kids, but part of a great program is tradition and people stepping up, filling those shoes. We’re very thankful for everything those kids have done for us over the last four years. Of course, we’re not done yet, still got more work to do.”
During the Tune-Up, the GVSU women hit 11 more qualifying marks and won eight events, including several sweeps. The men brought in nine provisional marks of their own and broke two more school records in the process, bringing the season total to five, two of which have been broken multiple times this year.
Junior Tendo Lukwago bested his mark in the triple jump for the second straight week with a leap of 14.79 meters to win the event. Freshman Darien Thornton, who has surpassed expectations all season, out tossed Grand Valley hall of fame athlete Jason VanElst’s 11-year-old weight throw record with a mark of 20.15 meters.
This week, the GVSU Indoor track and field team will devote itself entirely towards preparing for the GLIAC Indoor Track and Field Championships that will be hosted inside the Kelly Family Center on Feb. 23 and 24, beginning at 10 a.m. The women’s team, No. 1 from start to finish, is in good position. The men’s team still has a score to settle with No. 2 Ashland University.
“We match up with them (Ashland) very well and it’s going to be who has the guts,” Polk said. “Who can squeak out that point and beat out that next jersey in front of them?”
“It was Ashland that beat us (in 2008) and that’s who can beat us again – and it might be one or two points,” Polk said. “That’s what I always try to tell them is you always have to run through the line, you always have to give out your full effort or they’re going to beat us if you don’t.”
Only those that have made provisional times this season will participate in this weekend’s events, but it will take the entire team to accomplish this season’s remaining goals.
Baltes made this clear as he wrapped up his post-meet speech.
“We need you to be on board with what we’re trying to accomplish just as much as those crawling into the blocks, toeing the line and giving it all down the runway,” Baltes said “We need everyone on board.”
To read the original post “GVSU “tunes up” for GLIACS”, click here at the Lanthorn online.