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Sayen wins 1,500 at GLIAC Championships

Also sets conference record in victory
(WLUC)
Published: May. 6, 2022 at 9:50 PM EDT
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ALLENDALE, Mich. (WLUC) - Michigan Tech closed competition in the GLIAC Outdoor Track and Field Championships Friday with better than expected results at GVSU Track and Field Stadium, including a record breaking performance in the men’s 1500 meters by Clayton Sayen and an eclipse of an MTU school record by Sam Kurkowski’s in the 3000 meter steeplechase.

The Husky men scored 59 points this year for sixth place, up from 39 in 2020-21 while the women improved their standing from ninth to seventh, up from 18.5 pts last season to 25 this spring. It was a strong effort for MTU, whose smaller overall number of student-athletes than some school in the conference focus their efforts on a few select events.

Houghton’s own Clayton Sayen was the biggest story of the week. In the finals of the 1500 meters Friday, he edged out Grand Valley State’s Isaac Harding for first place as both crossed the finish line ahead of the GLIAC all-time record for the event. Sayen’s time (3:47.57) marked the third time this spring he topped himself for the MTU school record, further improving his NCAA provisional mark.

“Clayton executed an ideal championship-style race by staying patient with his position in the first half, then using his exceptional speed to close hard for the win and GLIAC title,” Owen said. “Finishing place matters more than time in championship races, and Clayton has another gear that we believe he can bring out at the National meet.”

Sophomore Sam Lange also posted an excellent race in the 1500 meters to pull into fourth with a time of 3:49.75, setting his own NCAA provisional qualifying time.

Sam Kurkowski highlighted the women’s 3000 meter steeplechase and assembled her best race of the season Thursday afternoon. She ran tight with the lead pack to nab fourth place to set a new school record.

“Sam has excellent technique over the barriers,” said assistant coach Robert Young. “Her confidence and ability over the water barrier allowed her to stay connected. Every lap she came out of the water noticeably faster than the competition.”

After Thursday’s preliminary race, senior Jesse Jacobusse was in second prior to the 200 meter final Friday. Jacobusse rounded the final turn nose to nose with a pair of fellow runners and came across third with a time of 2:13.43. Morgan Fuerst (GVSU) and Jenna Picard (SVSU) topped the podium in a near photo finish.

“The women’s 800 meter final was one of the most thrilling races of the day because it featured a stacked field and multiple lead changes over two laps leading to an incredibly close finish,” Owen said. “Jesse is the type of athlete who puts her whole soul into every race and gives it everything she has. She will race again next week at the Last Chance meet, looking to move up the National list and get a spot in the championship race.”

Ryan Schwiderson tied Sayen as the top scoring athlete of the meet, with matching fourth place finishes in both the 100 meter and 200 meter dash finals. His wind-legal 21.83 time in the 200 meter was a new personal record and within striking distance the Tech school record set by Robert Haynes back in 2007.

Newcomer Ellie Zimmerman had a really strong day in women’s pole vault, clearing every height up to 3.54 meters, where she went out (fifth place).

“That height would be a new school record,” Owen said. “I know she’s super motivated to hit it when she returns again next year.”

Noah Koball posted one team point with his eighth place mark in men’s shot put (15.06 meters). It was Koball again for the Huskies in discus, with a team best distance of 43.82 meters (eighth). Katherine Javis took ninth in women’s shot put (12.02 meters) and came in 16th in the discus event.

AJ Lewis also crossed the finish line fourth in the men’s 400 meter hurdles.

THURSDAY RECAP

The finals of some field events and long distance running were recorded Thursday. The Husky men scored 14 team points to slot in fifth on day one. MTU women’s track and field scored 10 points for seventh position.

Kurkowski highlighted Thursday’s women’s 3000 meter steeplechase. She placed fourth in the race and topped the Michigan Tech school record, set in 2019 by Carly Peterson with a time of 11:03.72. Katelyn Feldpausch also competed for 12th place (12:20.01).

With the men’s steeplechase slated next, Kyle Samluk and Stephen Loparo both set personal best times. Samluk crossed sixth (9:25.27) with Loparo right behind in seventh (9:29.11).

Derek Flory picked up one team point by placing eighth in long jump with a distance of 6.57 meters. Danny Martin appeared in pole vault and took eighth place at a clearance of 3.71 meters.

Allie Moffit set a personal best and earned a team point in javelin throw by placing eighth (32.66 meters). Toby Bonner took fourth in javelin for the men for five team points and a mark of 48.53 meters. Cody Tuftee threw the javelin 35.66 meters and finished in 10th place.

Under mostly sunny skies and little breeze, track events began with the women’s 1500 meter prelim. Theresa Passe and Mady Van Wieren finished ninth and tenth respectively to qualify for the finals. Passe ran in heat two and posted a time of 4:46.07 while Van Wieren competed in heat one with a time of 4:46.66. Cedar Gordon placed 19th with a time of 5:06.20.

With a pair of school records already set and an NCAA provisional mark gained, Clayton Sayen ran safely in third in heat one of the men’s 1500 meters and 5th overall with a time of 3:54.26. In the second heat, both Sam Lange and Logan Lukonic also qualified for the finals. Lange placed sixth overall with a time of 3:54.41 and Lukonic took 11th at 3:57.74 to seize the second to last spot in Friday’s race.

Laura Lyons impressed in the women’s 400 meter prelim. She broke the line under the one-minute mark for the first time in her career and nabbed the final qualifying spot with a personal best finish at 59.48 seconds. Freshman Ashley Plum also set a personal record in heat three and finished fifth (13th overall) at 1:02.21.

A pair of Huskies qualified for the finals in the men’s 400 meter prelim. Jacob Pilon led the way and set a personal best in seventh place overall with a time of 50.34. John Paul Norland squeaked into the final by five one hundredths of a second after he put up a personal best time 51.09 in heat two. Joshua Lynch also raced to 14th place (52.31) and set a personal record in the event.

Jesse Jacobusse stayed undefeated this season in her heat and came in second overall in the women’s 800 meter prelims. Running all alone in the front, Jacobusse came up four hundredths of a second short of her personal best and easily qualified for the finals with a time of 2:11.65. Jenna Brewer raced in heat three from a personal record time of 2:16.04, which qualified her ninth. Passe came in 15th at 2:21.76.

In the men’s 800 meter prelims, Sophomore Joe Wade destroyed his previous best by six seconds and placed eighth in heat one, 16th overall (1:58.31). Sophomore Jon Wildey also PR’d at 1:58.11 for 15th but neither qualified for the finals.

Ryan Schwiderson and Jacob Pilon advanced in the 200 meter dash. Schwiderson ran sixth (22.25) in a 17-runner field and Pilon took the final spot in the finals after a ninth place time of 22.58.

The day ended with the men’s and women’s 10000 meter run. Junior Michelle Bollini took sixth place for three team points with a time of 37:12.00 and Senior Chloe Strach placed eighth for one team point and a personal record time of 38:46.15.

Robbie Watling got the Huskies on the scoreboard with two team points and a seventh place run of 31:16.96. Nick McKenzie (9th – 31:24.26) and Ben Holland (13th – 32:30.38) also went the distance.

REST OF THE GLIAC

Grand Valley State took home the conference championship in both men’s and women’s outdoor track and field.

MEN

1. Grand Valley State (302 pts)

2. Davenport (119 pts)

3. Northwood (118 pts)

4. Saginaw Valley State (110 pts)

5. Wisconsin Parkside (60 pts)

6. Michigan Tech (59 pts)

7. Lake Superior State (29 pts)

8. Ferris State (10 pts)

WOMEN

1. Grand Valley State (249.50 pts)

2. Wayne State (139.50 pts)

3. Saginaw Valley State (128 pts)

4. Davenport (114 pts)

5. Northern Michigan (68 pts)

6. Wisconsin Parkside (37 pts)

7. Michigan Tech (25 pts)

8. Northwood (21.50 pts)

9. Lake Superior State (17 pts)

10. Ferris State (16.50 pts)

2022 GLIAC Men’s Outdoor Track & Field Awards

Coaching Staff of the Year: Grand Valley State; Track Athlete of the Meet: CarLee Stimpfel, Saginaw Valley State; Field Athlete of the Meet: Isaiah Schafer, Davenport; High Point Athlete of the Meet: Xzavia Price, Northwood; Freshman Track Athlete of the Meet: Brandon Miller, Grand Valley State; Freshman Field Athlete of the Meet: Ben Arens, Saginaw Valley State; Track Athlete of the Year: Isaac Harding, Grand Valley State; Field Athlete of the Year: Isaiah Schafer, Davenport

2022 GLIAC Women’s Outdoor Track & Field Awards

Coaching Staff of the Year: Wayne State; Track Athlete of the Meet: Makayla Sumrall, Wayne State; Field Athlete of the Meet: Emma Schafer, Davenpor; tHigh Point Athlete of the Meet: Emma Schafer, Davenport;  Freshman Track Athlete of the Meet: Makenzie Wellner, Wayne State; Freshman Field Athlete of the Meet: Erika Beistle, Grand Valley State; Track Athlete of the Year: Alona Olshevska, Saginaw Valley State; Field Athlete of the Year: Emma Richards, Grand Valley State

UP NEXT

The Huskies will send select athletes to the St. Francis Fighting Chance Invite on Thursday, May 12 with the goal of setting more NCAA qualifying marks and more chances to gain a berth to the NCAA Division II Championships starting May 26 in Allendale, Michigan.

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