Sophomore Laura Rolf
(Rochester, Mich./Lutheran Northwest) continued to plow through the Crusader record books Saturday morning, shaving a ridiculous 1:19 off her own 6K school record at the 2006 Pre-Nationals meet in Terre Haute, Ind.
Rolf, who set the school record of 22:04.3 at the NCAA Great Lakes Regional meet last season, covered the 6K course in 20:50.2, good for 26th in a field of 253 of the nation's top runners. The 2005 Mid-Con Newcomer of the Year was less than 50 seconds behind race winner Julia Lucas of North Carolina State. Rolf's time was also the fastest recorded by any Mid-Con runner this season by nearly one full minute, clear of 2005 All-American Faithy Kamangila's 21:48.54 run at the Bob Timmons Invitational earlier this year.
Senior Ashley Billstrom
(Hales Corners, Wis./Whitnall) was the next Crusader finisher in 147th place, but her time of 22:09.9 was the fastest ever clocked by any Valpo runner other than Rolf. Classmate Danielle Nunnelly
(Valparaiso, Ind./Valparaiso) was next in 22:17.2, also a personal-best in the 6K.
As a team, the Crusaders finished 32nd in the 37-squad field that included many of the country's top teams. The Brown and Gold finished ahead of teams like Arizona, Purdue and Auburn. Valpo was ranked eighth in the Great Lakes Region entering this week's action.
Rolf and the Crusaders will look to break more records in two weeks at the Mid-Continent Conference Championships in Kansas City, Mo. No Valpo team has ever won a conference title and only one individual, Collette Liss in 1996, has ever taken home the Mid-Con crown. The women's 6K race October 28 is scheduled for a 10:00 a.m. start.