Pete Barrows

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Archive for March 2013

Home Sweet Home

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Softball takes doubleheader & explodes for 16 runs in one inning

Pete Barrows

GVL Staff Writer

In the 17 games and 119 innings played previously this season, the Grand Valley State University softball team has scored 98 runs – an average of 5.76 runs per game and .82 runs per inning played, both above average marks. In the fourth inning of the second of two games played Wednesday night, the Lakers 18th game of the year, GVSU furiously broke open which at the time was a 1-0 game. 10 hits, 16 runs and three outs later, the contest against Wisconsin-Parkside ended in a 16-1 mercy.

GVL / Robert MathewsJunior Briauna Taylor running towards first base after a line drive against UWP.

GVL / Robert Mathews
Junior Briauna Taylor running towards first base after a line drive against UWP.

GVSU head coach Doug Woods, now in his 23rd season, has watched over 1200 games from the dugout during his tenure. There isn’t much Woods hasn’t seen, but even he was impressed with the one-inning offensive onslaught wrought by his girls.

“I don’t think we’ve ever done that before in one inning,” Woods said. “It’s tough to do. I think everyone jumped through on that one.”

Perhaps even more impressive than the 16 runs themselves was how they were ascertained. Of those 10-hits, senior Katie Martin’s double was the only one that garnered an extra base. As the Lakers cycled through the lineup (eight GVSUstudent-athletes had at least one hit), it was a string of singles that allowed them to construct the lead.

“We were ready to get the game done with I guess,” said senior Emily Jones. “That was one of those ones where you keep looking at the scoreboard ‘oh, we have 16 now? We just had zero.’”

Worth little on their own, singles when accumulated can have value. It’s not only how many, but also the timing of when hits are struck that make them valuable.

“We’re hitting very well and at the right time,” said freshman Chelsea Horvath. “We keep getting clutch hits.”

The first game of the doubleheader against Wisconsin-Parkside didn’t play out quite as emphatically, as GVSU was forced to play an entire seven innings, but the Laker squad did enjoy being back at home (for the first time this season), back outside and back to playing (and winning) ball the way they know how to play.

“It’s been a while – finally got back on the field yesterday,” Horvath said. “We were down in the first game, but it didn’t ever feel like we were going to lose. We don’t like to lose.”

After going down 3-2 in the top of the second, GVSU battled to tie the game in the fourth, when senior Nellie Kosola batted in junior Briauna Taylor. They went ahead following seniors Kayleigh Bertram RBI/Emily Jones scored run combination in the bottom of the fifth. It wasn’t a flashy outing, but the Lakers, who have firm grasp of both substance and style, aptly demonstrated that there’s more than one way to win a ball game.

“It’s nice to get to play on your field,” Woods said. “Luckily our field’s pretty dang good. We’re one of the few that played today – everyone else was rained-out, snowed-out or weathered-out. Defensively, we didn’t play as well as we wanted to, but we found a way to win. If you talk to Hannah (Santora), that wasn’t one of her best efforts pitching, but she got it done.”

With four more games yet to be played this week, in-conference doubleheaders Friday against Walsh University and Saturday against Lake Erie University, the Lakers are playing (and swinging) with confidence. Another 16-run burst shouldn’t be expected again anytime soon, but with a team-first, communicative and chemistry-based concept in place, it’s likely that GVSU will again put winning methods on display.

“I think it’s natural,” Jones said. “We kind of just all get along anyways so it shows on the field.”

pbarrows@lanthorn.com

To read the original post “Home Sweet Home”, click here at the Lanthorn online.

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March 29, 2013 at 4:42 am

Track and field prepares for the opening of outdoor season

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Pete Barrows

GVL Staff Writer

As the winter melts into spring, the Grand Valley State University track and field team shifts it’s focus back into the great outdoors and will work with the weather to un-thaw after a month of competitive inaction. Conditions permitting, GVSU will get back into the race beginning this Saturday at noon with a dual-meet against Saginaw Valley State University, which is scheduled to be run here in Allendale on the outdoor track.

Archive / Robert MathewsAthletes like Joe Graves look to build off of the success of their indoor season as they transition to outdoor competition.

Archive / Robert Mathews
Athletes like Joe Graves look to build off of the success of their indoor season as they transition to outdoor competition.

“We still have quite a bit of snow on the track,” said GVSU distance coach Nick Polk. “It’s in the works that we might actually have the meet indoors if we can’t get the snow off. We’ve never had to that before, but it’s been a rough winter.”

One of the outdoor nuances is the added itinerary. The steeplechase, 10-kilometer, the 4×100-meter relay, the 400-meter hurdles and the javelin throw are all events unique to the outdoor variety of collegiate track and field and many GVSU student-athletes are preparing to transition.

400-meter open and relay racers Chris Teitsma and Logan Hoffman, both juniors, have participated in the 400-meter hurdles since they were freshman, but like many others on the team, are still devoting effort into regaining their stride.

“We know how many steps we take from blocks to first hurdle, from first hurdle to second and so on,” Teitsma said. “Everywhere up until the last hurdle, we usually count at practice. Logan sometimes does it in races, but once it becomes a race, then I just go off of feel. Whatever feels right at race is what I do.”

Both accomplished athletes already, both Teitsma and Hoffman are looking forward to chasing down new goals. Both have made multiple trips to national meets and would like to continue the trend.

“I’m sure we’d both like to make it to nationals for hurdles,” Hoffman said. “We both made it individually once (Teitsma in as a freshman, Hoffman as a sophomore), but we’ve never gone together. As a team for the guys, I think the goal is just to get many people there (to nationals) as possible, just kind of like we did for indoor. I think we’re all thinking obviously fourth (place as a team) or higher, but as long as we get people like we did indoor, we’ll take care of it.”

The Laker coaching staff is hopeful that 50-degree weather predictions for this weekend will hold true, but regardless of where the meet is run (outdoors or inside the Kelly Family Sports Center), the program is anxious to return to running competitively.

“I guess we consider it for the distance athletes a rust-buster for us,” Polk said. “We are racing people in a lot of odd distances, not their primary distances, and we’ll see that across the board in sprints as well. We’re going to put people in different situations to see how they compete, mix it up, and get out and get a good race in, regardless of what it is, to get the nerves going again. They (GVSU athletes) haven’t done that for about a month.”

Coming off of a 2013 indoor season in which a total of 40 GVSU athletes were shipped down to Birmingham, Ala. for the nationals to compete, and two fourth-place team finishes were returned. The GVSU outdoor squad that sent 20 women and 17 men to Pueblo, CO. for outdoor nationals in 2012 would appear to be in good shape. With the added events and varied conditions however, the transition between seasons sometimes mimics Michigan’s climatic shift between winter and spring.

“I think the best word would be indecisive,” said GVSU head track and field coach Jerry Baltes. “Turn of the season, trying to regroup, refocus – it’s just hard to tell. We haven’t been outside on the outdoor track yet, so we’ll see how this weekend goes, whether we’re able to get out there or do something in here (Kelly Family Sports Center). Either way, our focus is to bust the rust off and get going on the outdoor season.”

With an onus placed on the details, GVSU will continue their pursuit of little goals and nuances to ensure their bigger picture success. Like the winter they’ll shortly be leaving in their wake, the Lakers won’t have much time and certainly won’t be able to afford to waste any.

“It’s short, there’s only a few meets, and conference is going to be here and we’ll be ready for the NCAA championships,” Baltes said. “The biggest thing we’ve got to do is every opportunity we have, we have to make the most of it. We have to be ready to go whether it’s 70 degrees or 40 degrees.”

pbarrows@lanthorn.com

To read the original post “Track and field prepares for the opening of the outdoor season”, click here at the Lanthorn online.

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March 29, 2013 at 4:38 am

Runner-up: GV falls 6-3 to Michigan State in national title game

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Pete Barrows

GVL Staff Writer

March 20 marked the first official day of spring, but trekking home up through Indiana on a chilled Wednesday afternoon, Grand Valley State University men’s head hockey coach Mike Forbes was noticeably let down by the shift in season that hadn’t come.

“It was cold – disappointingly so,” Forbes said. “Typically we come back from the national tournament and it’s spring – I was looking forward to that.”

For the fourth year in a row, GVSU’s club hockey program made the trip to the Division II American Collegiate Hockey Association (ACHA) national tournament, held this year in the Hardee’s IcePlex in Chesterfield, MO. and for the third year in row, they played in the tournament’s final game. Coming up a game short once again, fulfilled championship aspirations, like the spring, didn’t arrive in time for the Lakers in 2013.

Playing some of their best hockey of the season, GVSU scored 13 goals in five tournament games held between Mar. 15 and 19 and seemed to play best when they needed it most. After a heavy-handed 6-0 brutalizing of Arizona State University in what was perhaps GVSU’s second best game all year, a stingy 1-0 victory over the University of Illinois in the semifinals Monday propelled the Lakers to another championship berth, this time against in state foe Michigan State. Playing on an unusually spacious Olympic ice sheet and without the services of senior starting center Jeremy Christopher who had separated his shoulder Saturday against Northeastern University, the puck didn’t bounce the Lakers way and a prominent and desperate third period finish that narrowed the gap wasn’t enough to help GVSU overcome a six goal deficit, five of which had been scored by the Spartans during power play opportunities. The game, and GVSU’s season, concluded in a 6-3 defeat.

“When our team plays up to their potential, they can play with anybody in the country and when we don’t, we can play down to anybody’s level,” Forbes said. “When we have a sense of urgency and compete at the highest level and test the levels of our potential, we’re a very good hockey team. When we don’t, we compete very average. I think we saw both of those in the tournament this week.”

The trip began inauspiciously when GVSU’s travel bus spontaneously combusted and finished similarly, but the Lakers, who arguably played well above their means in the tournament, traveled home with heads held high. Making the tournament in it of itself is a feat worthy of recognition.

“At no time during the season did I feel that we were a top four team,” Forbes said. “No disrespect to any of our players, I just felt that we were lacking in some areas that we needed to go deep in the tournament. If you would have told me going into the tournament that we were going to be in the final against Michigan State, I might have laughed at you. As it turned out, we were able to and you can’t discount the efforts of those players that you have and their willingness to step up to do the work and take care of business.”

For five of the seven seniors on the squad, this is to be the end of the line. Despite the loss, they’ll skate away from the program proud.

“We couldn’t have played any better – I felt like we played our best hockey of the year,” said senior team captain Craig Marrett. “Unfortunately in the final game, the bounces didn’t go our way, but we gave it everything we got. No regrets. Play as hard as you can because you only have so little time to be able to do so – it’ll be over before you know it. A successful tournament, the only thing we’d like to change is the score of the final game.”

With 19 of 24 seasoned and tournament tested players set to return next year, there figures to be only a few holes to patch and the team goals will be the same as they always are in 2013-2014 – to make it back to the national tournament.

“I told the guys that I was fortunate enough to be a part of the Muskegon Lumberjacks in the international hockey league back in the 1980’s and we went to five tournament cup championships in five years and we only won two,” Forbes said. “The key is to get there and have the opportunity. We’ve been knocking on the door and I think we’ve got the personnel in place to be a very, very good, full team to compete next year.”

pbarrows@lanthorn.com

To read the original post “Runner-up”, click here at the Lanthorn online.

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March 21, 2013 at 11:39 am

Andrasik provides instant spark to GV softball

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Pete Barrows

GVL Staff Writer

Leroy Robert ‘Satchel’ Paige pitched professionally until he was 47-years old and once remarked that pitching, at its essence, was a simple undertaking. The essential trick of the trade? To ‘keep the ball away from the bat’. A strike’s a strike after all, no matter how it’s served up, and Grand Valley State University freshman ace Sara Andresik has already worked out a tasty, yet simple recipe.

“I like that (Andrasik’s) a power pitcher and can get you some strikeouts,” said GVSU head softball coach Doug Woods. “Not that Hannah (Santora) doesn’t get you strikeouts, but Hannah’s more finesse – Sara’s a power pitcher. It’s nice to have that combination.”

An ideal one-two punch, Santora and Andrasik, who have started in 11 of the 12 games and have paired to pitch in 73.2 of the possible 78.1 innings so far this year for GVSU, are clearly contrasting counterparts. Between the two, they supply a strong sampling of desirable pitching traits – experience and youth, power and control, size and tenacity. Together, they join to bolster and solidify the top of the Lakers pitching rotation.

A common denominator is found in the senior catcher they share, Emily Holt, and for all parties involved, it’s a symbiotic threesome.

“As a catcher here at GVSU, I get the opportunity to work with both our pitchers, Sara and Hannah,” Holt said. “I really like that because it gives me a chance to work on all areas of my catching – the change-up of Hannah and the speed of Sara. It also makes it fun for me as a catcher because with such a diverse pitching staff, it really makes calling pitches fun and gives me the ability to play with the batter’s mind a little bit.”

Santora, a senior, has employed veteran savvy and a well-honed arsenal of pitches, highlighted by a stomach-wrenching changeup, to record 25 strikeouts in her six starting appearances so far in 2013. Andrasik, a 6’0” flamethrower with exceptional range, recorded her first six appearances and five starts of her young GVSU career in Florida over spring break. She has recorded 48 strikeouts, a clip of 1.6 per inning pitched, and racked them up in 12.1 fewer innings than Santora.

It takes time for most freshmen to transition. It took Andrasik a game.

“She had one bad outing in Florida,” Woods said. “Other than that, she pitched real well down there. Got a lot of strikeouts – strikeouts are great. You strikeout, you don’t have to field the ball.”

To go along with abilities advanced beyond her years, Andrasik has discovered balance and a home here in Allendale. Involved in a dramatic, transitioning experience that most would describe as trying and complex, for Andrasik, who has received help from her friends, it’s all been seemingly simple.

“It’s been a really easy transition,” Andrasik said. “Everyone on the team is really supportive and helped make the transition great.”

Endowed with superb physical talents, Andrasik, who tossed three no-hitters and a 17-strikeout perfect game during her high school years spent in Sagamore Hills, Ohio, should not be confused as a one-trick pony. Power and size are her trademark, but Andrasik, like Santora, provides a diverse repertoire on the mound.

“I think that helps that she does throw with some speed, but she does have some movement on her pitches,” Woods said. “Sara can go upstairs on you and can jam you on your hands a little bit, too. When you have the power and the movement, that makes you effective.”

Already proving to be a formidable team, GLIAC hitters, who have not yet been introduced to Andrasik, can safely assume the best from this duo and freshman phenom is yet to come. With a strong working relationship, there’s no limit to how good they can be.

“It’s great working with Hannah,” Andrasik said. “She has the most experience and gives great advice. She always has my back and is there for me if I’m struggling.”

Santora boasts a 2.44 ERA early in the year, Andrasik is at a 1.37 average, which marks good for an astounding 1.91 accumulative ERA between the two. They’ll look to continue their hot start when they open with GLIAC play this Saturday as they take on Malone University.

pbarrows@lanthorn.com

To read the original post “Andraski provides instant spark to GV softball”, click here at the Lanthorn online.

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March 21, 2013 at 11:36 am

Santora’s versatility leads GV pitching staff

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Pete Barrows

GVL Staff Writer

Hannah Santora, senior ace of the Grand Valley State University softball team, is only 5’3”, but what she lacks in sheer height, she makes up for with her pitching.

“She’s a very competitive individual,” saidGVSU head softball coach Doug Woods. “Sort of small stature, but she’s got a lot of bark to her bite. She really gets after you when she pitches.”

GVL / Bo AndersonPitcher Hannah Santora

GVL / Bo Anderson
Pitcher Hannah Santora

A transfer student from Kanakee Community College in northeast Ill., Santora has shown off her bark frequently in her three seasons as a Laker. In 2012, Santora turned in one of the more prolific seasons in the history of the program. In 31 starts and 202.2 innings pitched, Santora completed 26 games and won 24, good for a 77.4 win percentage and a fifth-place rank in GVSU’s single-season record book for wins. She also finished ninth in strikeouts for a single-season (153), and tossed in seven shutouts to go with a stingy 1.90 ERA, all of which culminated in All-GLIAC first team, National Fastpitch Coaches Association (NFCA) All-Midwest Region Second Team and Daktronics Third Team All-American honors.

In softball, top female pitchers have been known to touch mid-60 mph and beyond on radar guns. Santora has not established a reputation for blowing hitters back with her speed, but once her pitch arrives from 40 feet away, it doesn’t visit cordially.

“She changes speeds real well,” Woods said. “She’s not a pitcher who throws 62 miles per hour, but she changes her speed and keeps the batter off stride.”

Relying on control and an understanding of pace and variance, Santora engages another undervalued pitching skill to ensure her results – a short memory. Even when stuck in a pinch, Santora is all but unflappable.

“She’s pretty tough mentally,” Woods said. “She can give up a home run, that won’t affect her – she won’t let that get her down. She’ll just come back and go after the next batter.”

Santora also benefits from a strong working relationship with fellow senior Emily Holt, her catcher of three years. When her preferred pitch, a well-crafted change up, isn’t getting the job done, Santora knows who to look to.

“She (Holt) has a lot to do with my pitches,” Santora said. “She tells me when they’re not working. We’re really good at communicating and we get along well outside the softball field and inside.”

Santora also understands her role on the team and that should she ever falter, support won’t be far behind.

“I feel very strong about it (GVSU’s 2013 pitching staff),” Santora said. “If one of us isn’t doing well, another one warms up and I know that they have my back or if I’m not doing well, I’ll warm up and have their back.”

Picking up right where she left off in 2012, Santora has started off 2013 with a 6-0 record, all complete games, earning GLIAC Softball Pitcher of the Week honors and helping GVSU to a 10-2 record exiting the NTC Spring Games held in Clermont, Fl. over spring break. The best may be yet to come.

“I could have pitched better, but my team was behind me,” Santora said.

Back north, the weather was not quite as hospitable over the weekend and unsuitable playing fields forced cancellations of a pair of non-conference doubleheaders scheduled for Saturday, March 16 and Sunday, March 17.

The squad will be back in action Tuesday Mar. 19 to take on St. Joseph’s college in Rensselaer, Ind., their last doubleheader tune-up before entering league play.

“We did practice Friday, but they had Saturday and Sunday off,” Woods said. “Hopefully they come back ready to practice on Monday and hopefully we get to get outside and play.”

Until provided her next start, Santora will continue her leadership role on the roster by doing what she does best.

“I’m a very competitive person so when I’m out there, I just focus on pitching and block out everything else,” Santora said.

pbarrows@lanthorn.com

To read the original post “Santora’s versatility leads GV pitching staff”, click here at the Lanthorn online.

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March 18, 2013 at 3:33 pm

Sophomore Scott recovers from high school ACL injury to succeed at GV

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Pete Barrows

GVL Staff Writer

Nothing in life is promised, not even in sports – a lesson which sophomore sprinter Carly Scott had to learn the hard way. Scott’s athletic career at Grand Valley State University nearly ended before it even began.

A track and field scholarship offer already assured her at GVSU, Scott, a dual sport athlete, didn’t think twice about enlisting for her senior season of basketball at Schoolcraft High School. A three-time all-state athlete in track and field, Scott had already set school records in the 200-meter (26.1 seconds) and 100-meter (11.9) dashes and had helped the Eagles to three regional championships during her stay. With one more track and season ahead of her, Scott figured to be in perfect position to both conclude her high school term and enter her college career on high notes. Her knee had other ideas.

“Her senior year of high school, she tore her ACL playing basketball,” said Keith Roberts, sprint, hurdles and relay coach. “A lot of people thought she would have to redshirt and potentially it would alter what she does in her career.”

Scott, with only one leg to stand on, stood at a threshold between careers and life stages. A devastating blow, an ACL tear is not an injury that can be taken mildly – some less fortunate athletes never play again.

“It was very hard when I first found out because I didn’t know how that would affect me coming here (to GVSU) of course because running my senior year, I didn’t have that,” Scott said. “I was really nervous about that, but coach Tesa (Sibley), coach Keith (Roberts) were really cool about it. They were like, ‘we still want you to come.’”

All freshmen have to concern themselves with making the transition to a new school. For most, college is the first time away from home and many struggle the first few months to find their way. Scott was no exception and had to accommodate a full-blown rehab as she went along.

“I had to work really hard, a lot of rehab. I was pretty much starting over once I got here,” Scott said. “I had surgery in February and I came here like the very next, like six weeks later.”

Taking it all in stride, Scott, who had earned the support of her coaches, was still an unknown quantity post-injury on the track. When the time finally came, Scott made sure to take full advantage of an opportunity that many young athletes take for granted.

“She came in as a freshman last year and popped off the 4X100, which is one of the most demanding legs – around the turn, popping out of the blocks,” Roberts said. “She was the most consistent in that.”

The women’s sprint team is one of the deepest on GVSU’s track and field program, particularly in the indoor 60-meter dash, with athletes like sophomores Brittney Bannister, Michaela Lewis and senior Kayla Addison all capable of running sub 7.9 seconds. In a sport where injuries are commonplace, having dependable depth can be a distinct advantage.

“When you look at our team, we have somewhere around six girls in the top 13 in the conference,” Roberts said.

Scott, now back in full form, has held her own in the rotation and narrowly missed making the cut to the national meet this past indoor season. With the upcoming outdoor season set to begin here in Allendale Mar. 30 with a dual meet against rival Saginaw Valley State University, Scott is primed to continue her progress.

“I just feel like from the standpoint of where she’s come from and how hard she works – she’s only a sophomore- she can be as good as she wants to be,” Roberts said.

pbarrows@lanthorn.com

To read the original post “Sophomore Scott recovers from high school ACL injury to succeed at GV”, click here at the Lanthorn online.

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March 18, 2013 at 3:29 pm

Johnson and Lelito impress at GV’s pro day

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Pete Barrows

GVL Staff Writer

Kelly Family Sports Center – There are 32 professional franchises incorporated under the crest of the National Football League, 23 of which had representatives present at the 2013 Grand Valley State University Pro Timing Day. It will only take one of those teams to make the dreams of recent Laker football alums Tim Lelito and Charles Johnson come true.

Hosted Monday afternoon in the Kelly Family Sports Center, 16 other NCAA Division II prospects also made the trip to Allendale in hopes of enticing the right team to take a chance.

“I don’t care,” said offensive lineman Tim Lelito. “I could be taken in the first round to invite to camp – anything. I really don’t care. I just want a chance.”

It hasn’t come easy, but both Lelito and Johnson are well on their way to receiving the one chance all athletes crave.

Lelito, a former GVSU Lineman of the Year and four-year starter as a Laker, has set up shop in Fowlerville, Mich., working with trainers at No Bull Strength and Performance for the past two months, six days a week, to add bulk and directly improve his drill scores (bench, 40-yard dash, L-drill, pro-agility, vertical leap, broad jump, etc.).

GVL / Robert MathewsOffensive lineman Tim Lelito running drills during the 2013 NFL Pro Day at the Kelly Family Sports Center.

GVL / Robert Mathews
Offensive lineman Tim Lelito running drills during the 2013 NFL Pro Day at the Kelly Family Sports Center.

Johnson, a two-year starter at GVSU and former GVSU Offensive Skill Position Player of the Year, has put in his work down in Nashville, Tenn. two times a day, six days a week under the watchful eye of University of Southern California trainer Darren Mustin and the Division I Sports Training staff, focusing on his 40-yard dash start with Olympic style track workouts.

“It’s been long, fun and hard,” Johnson said. “There’s a lot of training that goes into it and you got to be able to be committed. You can’t stop working. There’s somebody out there trying to work harder than you so I had that in the back of my mind. I have two little girls that I have to provide for, so I’m out here every day just putting in work, trying to get better and make one person to like me.”

All of their efforts culminated Monday when they were afforded the chance to perform center stage. Both Johnson and Lelito took full advantage of the opportunity.

“I thought they both performed very well (pro day),” said head GVSU’s head football coach Matt Mitchell. “They had some very good numbers and I think that in combination with their performance on tape is going to give both guys opportunities.”

So good in fact that had either athlete been one of the 335 invited to NFL combine held in Indianapolis between Feb. 20-26, both would have placed amongst top event performers.

Lelito, who measured in at 6’3” 308 pounds officially, posted 29 reps at 225 lbs. in the bench press, ran a 5.2 40-yard dash, leaped 8 feet 11 inches in the broad jump, a measurement that would have been 14th highest amongst lineman, and jumped 33 inches vertically from a stand, a height nearly unheard of for a man of his size that only two combine lineman could top.

At an official 6’2” 215 lbs., Johnson leaves little to be desired physically and quickly became the talk of the afternoon. Johnson started by quelling all concerns about his top-end speed, turning in blazing times of 4.35 and 4.38 seconds in the 40-yard dash, delivering two sub 4.4 40-yard dashes, just as he had previously promised. Johnson’s 4.35 would have been fourth best among all receivers – and fifth best overall – only trailing the top time of 4.27 paced by Marquise Goodwin of the University of Texas and the 4.34 second times clocked by Tavon Austin of West Virginia University and Ryan Swope of Texas A&M University.

GVL / Robert MathewsGVSU Senior Charles Johnson training at the NFL Pro Day inside the Kelly Family Sports Center.

GVL / Robert Mathews
GVSU Senior Charles Johnson training at the NFL Pro Day inside the Kelly Family Sports Center.

“On a scale of one to 10, I give myself a nine,” Johnson said. “I mean I wasn’t perfect. Nobody’s perfect, but I think I came out here and impressed a lot of people like I said I would. I think I came out here after all this hard work I’ve been putting in and performed at a high level.”

Johnson’s vertical leap of 39.5 inches would have ranked first amongst receivers and would have tied for tenth overall. Johnson’s broad jump of 11-foot-one would have been good for second amongst fellow receivers and fifth overall.

“It’s good for him,” Mitchell said. “I think it adds to his catches and productivity. I always knew he was going to be in a camp as a free agent. This might have possibly today bumped him into that draft-able range.”

Lelito, who could be limited by height at the next level, has a direct precedent to follow set by current NFL and former GVSU linemen Cam Bradfield and Nick McDonald. Prepared to step in at any interior line position, Lelito’s versatility could be his ticket into the league. A blue-collar demeanor could also factor heavily in Lelito’s favor.

“I’m just nasty,” Lelito said. “I like hurting people. I like going out there and getting after it, and I definitely like a challenge. If someone says, ‘Hey, here’s this All-American defensive lineman’ or something like that, I like to go in there and test myself. Give them a little pancake action. Pour some syrup on them.”

The draft, which will be held April 25-27, is only 41 days away. Whether Leltio and Johnson are selected remains to be seen, but at the very least, it is expected that both Lakers will make NFLcamps. If they are, they’ll bring the count of Lakers in the NFL up to six. After short rests to reward their pro day efforts, both players will spend the coming weeks continuing their training and participating in individual team workouts. Both intend to make everyone of those 41 days count.

“I’m not making those decisions, but I’d say based on (pro day) you’re going to see a lot more teams now flying him in for pre-draft visits,” Mitchell said. “It only takes one.”

pbarrows@lanthorn.com

To read the original post “Johnson and Lelito impress at GV’s pro day”, click here at the Lanthorn online.

Written by peterdbarrows

March 13, 2013 at 8:15 pm