Four of the Valparaiso men’s cross country squad’s top five finishers Friday were underclassmen, led by freshman Wally Bradford (Mukwonago, Wis./Mukwonago), as the Crusaders recorded a 14th place finish at the Bradley Classic in Peoria, Ill.
The Crusaders tallied 401 points on the afternoon for their 14th place finish. Windsor took top team honors with 40 points, while Northern Iowa’s Thibault Vandenabeele was the first individual across the line.
Bradford smashed his previous two 8K efforts so far in his rookie season, crossing the line in 67th place in 27:05 on Friday, nearly two and a half minutes better than his last race. Sophomore Jordan Piaskowy (Crete, Ill./Illiana Christian) was the second Crusader across the line, just missing his career best 8K time as he finished 86th with a time of 27:32.
Sophomore Blane Bowen (Grand Blanc, Mich./Grand Blanc) sliced better than 20 seconds off of his fastest career 8K time, finishing the course Friday in 27:53 to finish in 102nd place. Junior Joel Hartenberger (Albuquerque, N.M./Sandia) crossed the line in 28:00 flat, good for 107th place, while redshirt freshman Pat Johnson (Oil City, Pa./Cranberry [Monmouth]) placed among Valpo’s top-five for the first time in his career, coming home in 111th place with a time of 28:04.
Friday served as Valparaiso’s final tuneup for the 2009 Horizon League Championships, to be contested in Milford, Mich. on Saturday, Oct. 31. The men’s 8K championship is slated for a 10 a.m. CDT start time.