UNIVERSITY CENTER, Mich. – The Lake Superior State men's and women's track and field teams combined for seven top-eight finishes at the 2019 GLIAC Indoor Track & Field Championships on Saturday and Sunday at the Saginaw Valley State University Fieldhouse.
The men's team placed seventh at the championships with 21 points, while the women garnered one point to finish 10th. The 21 points are the most by the men's team at the GLIAC Indoor Track & Field Championships since the 2014 season when they garnered 45.50 points. The Laker men last tallied 20 points at the 2016 indoor conference championships. The Laker women scored a point at the indoor conference championships for the first time since 2014.
Roger Willford, a junior, finished in third place in the heptathlon with a personal-best 4,871 points. With the result, Willford earned six points for the Lakers. The 4,871 points is an NCAA Division II Provisional Qualifier and is currently the 36th-best performance in NCAA Division II this indoor season. His previous personal best of 4,761 points was set earlier this season at the SVSU Holiday Open on Dec. 7-8. Willford's performance in the heptathlon is the best by a Laker since the 2013-14 season when Justin Balczak and Kaleb Schweiger recorded 5,289 points (Kent State Golden Flash Gala) and 5,134 points (NCAA Division II Indoor Track & Field Championships), respectively. In addition to his performance in the heptathlon, Wilford also placed fifth in the pole vault as he cleared a height of 4.48 meters. The performance earned four points for the Lakers.
The men's distance medley relay team of seniors Garrett Smith and Travis Sutton, freshman Luke Passino and sophomore David Mitter ran a time of 10:22.58 to finish in fifth place and earn four points. Their time was less than three seconds off of the men's indoor DMR program record of 10:19.71, which was set by the team of Chris Olds, Adam Smith, Marc Small and Tom Thorton in 2007.
In the men's 60-meter hurdles, freshman Andrew Giddens finished in sixth place with a personal-best time of 8.77 seconds. His time is the fastest by a Laker since Yazin Joseph recorded a time of 8.68 seconds at the 2017 GLIAC Indoor Track & Field Championships. With his performance, Giddens earned the Lakers three points.
In the men's 3,000-meter run, Mitter ran a personal-best time of 8:33.28 to place seventh and earn the Lakers two points. Mitter's performance was over five seconds faster than his previous personal best (8:38.85, 2018 GLIAC Indoor Track & Field Championships). Mitter's time is the ninth fastest in the GLIAC this season.
The men's 4x400-meter relay team of Giddens, Sutton, Passino and senior Parker Wyngaard finished in seventh place with a time of 3:26.20. The time is the fastest indoor 4x400-meter relay time for the Lakers since the 2016 GLIAC Indoor Track & Field Championships when Oshane Thomas, Joseph, Sean Suehr and Spencer Montcastle crossed the line in 3:24.74.
The women's distance medley relay team of senior Lydia Heimonen, freshman Riley Collins, freshman Elizabeth Setsuda and junior Rebecca Lathrop finished in eighth place with a time of 12:48.48 to earn one point for the Lakers. Their performance was a little over four seconds off the Lake Superior State women's indoor DMR record time of 12:44.39, which was set by the team of Amy Busfield, Dianna Kintz, Mandi DeBlock and Meghan Juutie in 2005.
Grand Valley State won both the men's and women's team titles with 220 and 260 points, respectively.
The Lake Superior State men's and women's track and field teams begin their outdoor seasons at the Blizzard Buster on March 23 at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio.
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