Senior Joel Hartenberger (Albuquerque, N.M./Sandia) ran to a career-best fifth-place finish on Friday to lead the Valparaiso men’s cross country team as it opened the 2010 campaign with a second-place team showing at Sunset Hills Farm in the Crusader Open.
Hartenberger, who finished ninth in the 2009 edition of the race, sliced 17 seconds off his time on the 6K course to finish four spots higher this year, covering the course in 19:50.73. Following behind the senior were junior Jordan Piaskowy (Crete, Ill./Illiana Christian), who finished 11th with a time of 20:30.72, and junior Nick Fagan (Sycamore, Ill./Sycamore), who crossed the line right behind Piaskowy with a time of 20:31.15.
Redshirt sophomore Patrick Johnson (Oil City, Pa./Cranberry [Monmouth]) was the fourth Crusader runner to complete the circuit, coming home in 21:29.50, good for a 21st place finish. Junior Mack Morris (Eden Prairie, Minn./Benilde-St. Margaret’s) rounded out the Valpo scoring contingent, running among the Crusader top-five for the first time in his career with a 22nd place showing, covering the course in 21:30.55. Joe Johnson (Darien, Ill./Downers Grove South) and Caleb Schmal (Thornton, Ill./Illiana Christian) both finished just seconds behind Morris as well.
The Crusaders totaled 61 points for their second-place finish in the four team field, edging out fellow Horizon League squad Green Bay by five points. Notre Dame took the team title with 16 points, as Hartenberger prevented the clean sweep. The Irish’s Paul Springer took individual top honors with a time of 19:34.50.
Valparaiso returns to action in two weeks, as the Crusaders head to Michigan State to take part in the Spartan Invitational on Friday, Sept. 17.