Top 5 GVSU Athletics Stories of 2020-21
Even with the unprecedented events that have taken place in our world over the past year and a half, athletic programs at Grand Valley State University have mostly found a way to shut themselves up and play their sport.
Just getting the student-athletes back onto the field was an accomplishment in itself. But the Lakers did more than that. This year has provided incredible storylines ranging from a national title and a Division II World Series appearance to consistent success throughout GLIAC play in the vast majority of sports.
While there were countless intriguing moments throughout the year, we’ve narrowed it down to the top five stories of the academic year.
1. Men’s track and field wins NCAA National Championship
For the first time in Lakers history, the men’s track team won the national outdoor team title.
The team scored 76 points in the championships, a 21-point lead over their closest competitor. GVSU made 15 podium appearances in total in the finals, led by senior individual title Isaac Harding in the 5,000-meter. Harding and three others were also second this weekend, racking up points for their school.
The victory marked not only the first national championship for GVSU men, but also for coach Jerry Baltes on the men’s track side, although they have won in cross country in the past.
The Laker Women also won the NCAA runner-up title at the outdoor championships.
2. The women’s track wins the national indoor championship
As the men won their title in the spring, the women’s track and field team won the Division II indoor national championships in March.
The victory marked the third national title in the history of the women’s program. The Lakers dominated the competition, gaining 93 points in the game. It’s more than 53 points ahead of second-place team, Minnesota State.
Nicole Sreenan won first place in the 400 meters and third in the 200. Senior Angelica Floyd won the golf course at 60.
“What a fantastic three days of competition for both of our programs,” said Baltes. “Our women have been lights in all areas. We are proud of what our student-athletes have gone through over the past year to get here and complete what we were set to do last year. Also to our entire administration for all their support in getting us to this point! It was a total accomplishment for the team / program. “
Both titles this season marked Baltic’s fifth and sixth national titles between track and cross-country.
3. Softball wins trip to Division II World Series
For the fourth time since 2012, the GVSU softball team ended its season in the Division II World Series.
This was their fifth tournament appearance in program history, all since 2000. Although they were unsuccessful, the third seed started the World Series on a hot streak, winning 15 of their last 16 games. before the event. started. They also won the regular season and GLIAC tournament titles.
Second-year pitcher Hannah Beatus was the engine that powered the Lakers, pitching 185.2 innings in the season leading up to the World Series and boasting a 0.96 ERA and an overall record of 24- 3.
4. Football postpones, then cancels the season
However, not all teams have been able to return to the pitch this season. The GVSU football team chose not to play the 2020 season after the Division II Council canceled the fall championships.
With that decision made, head coach Matt Mitchell immediately changed course to focus on recruiting. It was weird doing it in virtual space, but the Lakers ended up carrying 43 student-athletes on national signing day.
In the pre-season polls leading up to the 2020 season, GVSU was ranked in the top 25. The team is returning much of its production starting in 2019, with the NCAA granting an additional year of eligibility due to the pandemic. The 2021 season is scheduled to begin on September 2.
5. Gracyn Segard wins national championship in dives of 1.3 meters
Second-year diver Gracyn Segard achieved top marks and won an individual national title in 3-meter diving at the Division II championships.
While her 3-meter dive got a score of 487.15, she made sure that this wasn’t the only material she would leave with. The day before, in the 1-meter dive, she won another individual national title with a score of 448.35.
This achievement marks the first time that a GVSU diver has won the title in both dives in the same season.