The Valparaiso University men’s and women’s cross country programs concluded their seasons on Friday at the NCAA Great Lakes Regional, hosted at Angel Mounds Cross Country Course in Evansville, Ind. This marked the final meet of Mike Straubel’s 35-year run as the head coach of the programs, as Straubel has announced his retirement. The Beacons were led by junior Eric Carothers (Fishers, Ind. / Hamilton Southeastern), who cracked the program record book in the men’s 10K race.
When Mike Straubel reflects on his 35-year run as the head coach of the Valparaiso University men’s and women’s cross country programs, he will never forget the look of pure joy on a student-athlete’s face after running a personal record or completing an individual achievement.
Valparaiso University men’s cross country junior Eric Carothers (Fishers, Ind. / Hamilton Southeastern) improved his 8K time that already ranked fourth in program history as the Beacons returned to action on Friday. The men’s and women’s squads competed in the Bradley Pink Classic, which was held at Newman Golf Course in Peoria, Ill. The women were part of a 37-team field and the men were among 31 competing teams in a meet that featured numerous Missouri Valley Conference compatriots.
Several Valparaiso University men’s cross country runners faced off with elite competition on Friday by participating in the men’s gold five-mile race at the Joe Piane Invitational, hosted at Burke Golf Course in Notre Dame, Ind. In addition, the Valpo women’s squad saw collective improvement from its previous 5K race.
Junior Eric Carothers (Fishers, Ind. / Hamilton Southeastern) clocked a top-5 time in program history on Friday evening to lead the way for the Valparaiso University cross country team at the Illinois State Invite, hosted at Weibring Golf Club in Normal, Ill. Carothers finished the 8K in 25.04.4 to lead the Beacons.
The Valparaiso University cross country program opened the season on Friday by hosting the program’s annual home meet, the Winrow Open at Sunset Hill Farm County Park in Valparaiso. The Valpo men’s team was paced by junior Eric Carothers (Fishers, Ind. / Hamilton Southeastern), while the Valpo women were led by sophomore Grace Aurand (Highland, Ind. / Highland).
After a 2020-2021 season that was heavily impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, Friday will mark a return to normalcy for the Valparaiso University men’s and women’s cross country teams.