Varsity, club teams excel on national level

Lakers claimed 25th consecutive GLIAC President's Cup

Grand Valley varsity and club athletic teams compiled another championship season, bringing home national titles, NCAA individual titles and the GLIAC’s President’s Cup for the 30th time.

The men’s and women’s track and field teams had several student athletes excel on the national stage this season. The men’s track and field team finished as the national runner-up at the NCAA Division II Indoor Track and Field Championships in March. Myles Kerner (shot put), Jaivon Harrison (high jump) and Caleb Futter (mile) won individual national titles at the meet while Jonathan Rankins-James (high jump) placed as runner-up behind Harrison.

On the women’s side, Erika Beistle placed first in the shot put while the distance medley relay team of Maria Mitchell, Kate Zang, Taryn Chapko and Klaudia O’Malley finished as national runner-up at the meet.

Beistle, Kerner and Harrison continued their dominance by placing first at the NCAA Division II Outdoor Track and Field Championships in May. Beistle won national titles in shot put and discus, Kerner earned his in the shot put and Harrison won the high jump event.

Erika Beistle competes in the discus event during a meet.
Erika Beistle won three individual national championships in shot put and discus this season.

After a 32-year hiatus, the wrestling team claimed its first individual national champion. Josh Kenny, the No. 4 seed in the 174-pound division , defeated Anthony Des Vigne of Central Oklahoma to become GVSU’s first national champion since 1988. Kenny finished his season with a 32-5 record. 

At the NCAA Division II Swimming & Diving Championships, Maddie Kooistra won the national title for her performance in the 1-meter springboard event.

An official raises the arm of wrestler Josh Kenny following his victory over Cornerstone's Cooper Mansfield in November 2023.
An official raises the arm of wrestler Josh Kenny following his victory over Cornerstone's Cooper Mansfield in November 2023. Kenny won the NCAA Division II championship at 174 pounds.
Image credit - Kendra Stanley-Mills
Diver Maddie Koistra celebrates her first place finish in the 1-meter springboard event at the NCAA Division II Swimming & Diving Championships.
Diver Maddie Koistra celebrates her first place finish in the 1-meter springboard event at the NCAA Division II Swimming & Diving Championships.
Image credit - GVSU Athletics

At the club level, Grand Valley was represented by four teams at the national level. The Grand Valley Dance and Cheer teams earned several national titles at the College Classic National Championships

The Laker Dance Team brought home three national titles — Division II Jazz Champions, Division II Hip Hop Champions and Super Spirit Showdown Champions — while the Laker Cheer Team claimed several as well — Super Spirit Showdown Champions (a collaboration with the dance team), All Girl Cheer Division, Small Co-ed Cheer division and Pyramid Battle winners.

The co-ed cheer team poses for a group photo
The all-women cheer team poses for a photo.
The Cheer teams, led by coaches Brandy Skantze and Andy Brown, brought home several titles from the College Classic National Championship.

The top-seeded women’s basketball team finished as runner-up at the National Club Basketball Association national tournament. No. 3 Boston College upended the Lakers in the title game, 67-62.  

The men’s Division 3 hockey club also finished as national runner-up after Lawrence Tech edged the Lakers, 4-2, in the American College Hockey Association Division 3 national championship game.

For their overall performance in the GLIAC, Lakers teams captured their 25th consecutive GLIAC President’s Cup , awarded to the athletic program in the conference that displays general excellence. It’s the 30th President’s Cup awarded to the Lakers in school history. 

Grand Valley women won GLIAC championships in cross country, volleyball, indoor track & field, basketball, swimming & diving, lacrosse, softball, golf and outdoor track & field. Grand Valley men won GLIAC championships in football, cross country, swimming & diving, indoor track & field, golf, baseball and outdoor track & field.

Subscribe

Sign up and receive the latest Grand Valley headlines delivered to your email inbox each morning.