Men finish fourth at GLIAC’s
March 1, 2010 —
Snow prevents the Cardinals from running record times outdoors.
It can’t stop them from doing so indoors.
At the GLIAC indoor championships, a number of Cardinals produced personal best times as well as NCAA automatic qualifying marks.
Even though the Cardinals have been in the upper echelon of GLIAC teams all season, sophomore distance runner Nick Ekel was surprised with the results.
“The team performance was nothing short of astounding,” Ekel said. “We had athletes rise above themselves to earn points that weren’t ours on paper.”
The atmosphere at Grand Valley helped propel the Cardinals to some of the best times in Division II this season and GLIAC history.
“It [electricity] was electric and it helped us bring back a lot of personal best times,” Ekel said.
Due to injury, Ekel was unable to run in January. At the GLIAC championship, he finished in sixth place in the 5,000-meter run and was pleased with his performance.
“To run a personal best time by ten seconds with minimal training excites me,” he said.
Senior middle distance runners Tony Filipek and Charlie Richards took first and second place in the 800-meter run. Filipek finished in 1:50.47 and Richards in 1:51.39.
Filipek’s time is the best time recorded in Division II this season. Both Filipek and Richard’s times automatically qualify them for the NCAA indoor national championship.
Junior middle distance runner Marion Body figured into the scoring in the 800-meter run with a sixth-place finish in the slow heat. The Cardinals scored 21 points in the 800-meter run.
The distance medley team of Filipek, Richards, Body and senior middle distance runner Derek Stone finished in first place with a time of 9:55.26. The time is the fastest in GLIAC history.
Freshman hurdler Calvin Sullins finished in third place in the triple jump in his first collegiate attempt.
Despite the record-breaking performances, the Cardinals finished fourth in the GLIAC meet. The team expected a better finish.
“As a team, we were disappointed with where we finished,” Ekel said. “Over the last few years, we have consistently been in the top three.”
Ekel believes the Cardinals are still trying to adjust to new head coach Rod Cowan.
“We are still learning a whole new style of training,” he said. “We are going through the transition period right now.”
Heading into the indoor championships, senior distance runner Steve Genther is ranked No. 15 in the nation in the 5,000-meter run. He must wait until the NCAA decides on how many athletes will participate in the race.
The indoor championships take place in Albuquerque, N.M., which is at one-mile elevation.
“This is a huge obstacle for distance runners to overcome because there is less oxygen in the air for muscles to use while racing,” Ekel said.
With the outdoor season right around the corner, SVSU seniors have only a limited number of races to etch their names in history. Ekel thinks they already have.
“The senior class has remained through three coaching changes, and has come to define the program here at SVSU. They have provided a steady foundation for the young athletes.”