(Allendale, Mich.) The opening day of the Big Meet hosted by Grand Valley State University yielded big results for the Cornerstone Men's Track & Field team. Led by Louis Falland's school record and NAIA leading performance in the mile, three CU school records fell amid five national qualifying performances.
Undefeated in individual events this season, Louis Falland faced his best competition of the year in the second heat of the invitational mile. At the gun, the fifteen men jostled their way off the starting line trying to establish position. The flying elbows and tangled feet caused several runners to stumble and the starter wisely fired a recall shot. The clerk rearranged the field into two rows, creating more space on the line and the second start was successful. After covering the opening lap in a quick 46.3, the pace settled in at 47 seconds for the next three laps with Falland finding his way into third. Then as he has done all season, Louis bolted to the front, cruising through the final 400 meters in 59.1 seconds to win going away. His time of 4:07.57 won the heat and was the fifth fastest time overall. In addition, Falland regained his spot as the top miler in the NAIA and broke the CU school record. The old mark of 4:08.96 was set in 2007 by Derek Scott, who texted his congratulations to Falland shortly after the race.
Running in the fourth heat of the invitational 400 meters, Ryan Versen plowed through the competition in the final 150 meters, winning the heat and taking sixth overall. His time of 48.50 bettered the school record of 48.90 he set last season and was well under the NAIA automatic qualifying standard.
Zach Yeo finished fourth in the 600 meters, his 1:21.07 improving his NAIA provisional qualifying mark. Spencer Perry (1:23.38 / 11th), Zach Bourdon (1:23.51 / 13th) and Tyler Grey (1:26.71 / 25th) also recorded new best times.
In the 5000 meters, Jared Courtright moved to the top five on the NAIA list with a huge personal best of 14:47.04. Ben Foreman also raced well, improving his PR by 13 seconds, clocking 15:38.23.
The evening ended with the always exciting 4 x 400 meter relay. Senior, Eric Schroeder's 49.1 lead off leg put CU in great position. Perry held form with his 49.6 effort then Versen blasted to the lead with an incredible 47.2 split. Zach Yeo needed only 49.7 to bring the baton to the finish line in a new school record 3:15.78. The old mark of 3:16.93 was set last year at this meet by Schroeder, Adam Duerksen, Versen and Yeo. Cornerstone took second in their heat and tenth out overall out of the four invitational heats.