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(Allendale, Mich.) The term "big" applied to nearly every aspect of the appropriately named Big Meet hosted by Grand Valley State University. The field was big, with over 1700 athletes from around the country participating. The crowd was big, selling out the Laker Turf Building. Best of all, big PR's were the order of the day both Friday and Saturday as the Cornerstone men tallied seventeen personal bests, seven NAIA national qualifying performances, two freshman records and two school records.
Freshman, Chad Butler spent all day Friday contesting the first part of the two-day heptathlon, setting personal bests in the 60 meter dash (7.67), shot put (31' 9.25") and high jump (5' 5.5").
Friday night featured the elite invitational heats and two CU 400 meter runners welcomed the chance to race the best competition they've faced all season. Senior, Jacob Erickson took third in his heat in 48.95, taking .23 off the school record set by Jeremy Underwood in 2004. Two heats later, Zach Yeo took the runner up spot in his round, lowering his own freshman record from 49.66 to 49.49.
The evening ended with PR's from Kurtis Koffkey (1:23.79) and John Klumpp (1:28.04) in the 600 meters.
Saturday started out well and improved from there. In the 5,000 meters, senior Stephan Larson cranked out 15:15.97 for his first NAIA Indoor qualifying mark and a personal best by :33. Freshmen, Cody Risch (15:53.07) and Travis Mabe (16:19.90) also set PR's.
Next the distance medley relay of Jared Courtright, Erickson, Yeo and Zach Ripley combined for a school record, improving their NAIA automatic qualifying time 10:11.72. The old mark of 10:11.92 was set by Todd Smith, Joey Symonds, Robert Atwood and Derek Scott in 2007.
Ripley and Courtright also ran the 800 meters resulting in three more PR's. Ripley clocked 1:59.56 followed by Peter Kaijala (2:00.64) and Courtright (2:00.86).
Butler's second day in the Heptathlon went very well with PR's in the 60 meter hurdles (9.29), breaking his school record in the pole vault by two inches clearing 14' 5.25", and then running 3:12.90 for 1,000 meters. His seven event total of 4296 points established the freshman record.
Alex Green and Adam Looman kept the PR parade going in the 3,000 meters with Green improving his NAIA automatic qualifying time to 8:36.28 and Looman lowering his best to 9:18.34.
In a fitting conclusion to the weekend, Koffkey and Adam Duerksen joined forces with Yeo and Erickson to better the automatic national qualifying standard in the 4 x 400 meter relay with a time of 3:19.83.