Crusaders Kick Off Season Friday
Alexander Bruno finished ninth overall in the men's race Friday.


Crusaders Kick Off Season Friday
Friday, September 2, 2016

The Valparaiso University cross country teams opened their respective seasons Friday evening with the 28th Annual Crusader Open, as the Crusaders had four runners from each team cross the finish line in the top-ten. Notre Dame took home the team title in both the men’s and women’s races.

How it Happened

  • Senior Max Morello (Plano, Ill./Plano) finished first for the Crusaders and sixth overall, besting his time last year at the Crusader Open by two seconds with a time of 20:13.6
  • Sophomore Alexander Bruno (Bloomington, Ill./University) nixed 15 seconds off his 6K time from last season, crossing the line in 20:24.1 to help him to a ninth-place finish. Bruno’s older brother, senior Adam Bruno (Bloomington, Ill./University) was the second-fastest Crusader, placing seventh with a time of 20:14.2.
  • The top finisher on the women’s side, junior Kim Heiny (Burnettesville, Ind./Twin Lakes), trimmed over a minute off her time from a year ago to capture a sixth-place finish.
  • Senior Liz Owen (Freedom, Wis./Freedom) finished second on the team for Valpo with a time of 19:59.8, collecting an eighth-place finish for the evening.
  • Notre Dame claimed both team titles, downing the Crusaders 15-43 on the men’s side and 15-40 on the women’s side.

Inside the Race

  • The men’s squad had six freshman runners compete in their first collegiate meet tonight.
  • The Crusader women had six freshman run in their first meet as well, with Kyla Ohst (Naperville, Ill./ Metea Valley) finishing tenth to lead the first-years.
  • Tonight was the beginning of head coach Mike Straubel’s 30th season as leader of the Crusaders.

Thoughts from Head Coach Mike Straubel

“The Crusader Open is a tradition, it’s good for the team, and prepares them for much larger races.”

“(This race) is primarily a learning experience for the team. We’re only 75 percent at this time, which is according to plan.”

“We have a two-week period between meets and need to recover a bit. We also need to hit it hard at practice, push hard and continue moving forwards towards the conference championship.”

Next Up

The Crusader squads will split in two weekends for a pair of meets on Saturday, Sept. 17. Some runners will head out west to the USD Invite, hosted by San Diego, while others will stay closer to home and run at the Gil Dodds Invitational in Warrenville, Ill.