Need something to do over spring break in West Michigan?
Spring Sports Season Heats Up at GVSU with Two NCAA DII Tourneys
The end of another academic year has come. On April 26, 2,900 GVSU graduates walked across the stage, received diplomas, and made the first step toward a new era of their lives. Usually this signifies the end of another successful year at Grand Valley State University. The campus seems empty, the hustle and bustle of students, faculty, and staff is missing, and people begin to talk about their summer plans. This is not the case in GVSU’s athletic department. While many were celebrating graduation Saturday, 250 of our student-athletes were still playing in their regular season, competing in a Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC) championship or preparing for National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) post-season play. “The end” is not in our vocabulary at this particular time of the year.
This busy spring sport season is the norm here at Grand Valley; however this year, we are also preparing to host TWO, yes – I said, TWO NCAA Division II National Championships that will extend our spring all the way to the end of May. From May 18 through May 23, GVSU’s very own Meadows Golf Course will host the NCAA Division II Men’s Golf Championships. And right across the road May 22 through 24, 750+ student-athletes will compete for a championship trophy in the 2014 NCAA Division II Men’s and Women’s Outdoor Track and Field Championships as well.
Now that the weather has broken, I see runners all over the trails of West Michigan and golfers starting to sneak out of work early to hit the links. What better place to feed the passion for running and golf than these championships!
Entrance into the golf championship is FREE – what a deal! Come out in the morning or afternoon and stroll the 18 beautiful holes of the Meadows, watching some of the best collegiate men’s golf in the country. Want to be part of the action? You can volunteer to make this one of the best championships experiences these student-athletes have ever had by contacting Dave Tanis. Be a part of the action and show everyone what West Michigan is about!
Golf not your thing? The excitement of the final heat of the 400-meter relay will not disappoint. There is so much to watch at the track championships, you won’t want to leave. Distance races, relays, pole vault, long jump and the hammer throw are just a few of the competitions that could see records fall. All three days of action will be riveting, but there is nothing like the excitement, energy, and electricity of the final evening of competition on Saturday, May 24. The bleachers will be packed with 2,500+ spectators, participants and coaches all cheering for their team to run a little faster, jump a little higher, or throw a little farther – all for the precious few points that could make the difference between first and second place.
By the way, this championship is a BIG deal for GVSU – we’re the first venue in Michigan to host the meet, and we’ll host it again in 2015! Our state-of-the-art outdoor track facility was one of the key reasons Grand Rapids won the NCAA championship bid. GVSU also will host the 2016 USA Track and Field Outdoor Masters Nationals, another feather in our cap.
But don’t procrastinate on getting tickets – the event is expected to sell out, so guarantee a seat by purchasing tickets in advance either online or at 616-331-3200. Single-day tournament tickets are $8 for children through 17 years, students (ID required) and seniors 55+; and $12 for adults. Groups of 10 or more can get $2 off single-day tickets. A weekend pass with access for all three days is available for $12 for children, students and seniors; and $20 for adults.
Like golf, the track championship requires an army of volunteers to make it the best it can be. You don’t have to know a thing about track to help and can sign up online. For each day you volunteer, you get into the event for FREE. Help out a little in the morning and join the excitement in the evening as a spectator—heck, we’ll even give you a free Nike Dri-FIT t-shirt!
GVSU has two great sporting events that showcase what West Michigan is all about, so come on out – enjoy the spring, watch the competition, and get involved!
Sports are good for our quality of life – they keep us healthy and teach us about teamwork.
I truly enjoy the social connections made possible by organized sports.