A large crowd surfaced at Sunset Hills Farm to watch the Valparaiso University men’s and women’s cross country teams compete in the 29th annual Crusader Open on Friday afternoon. Two runners finished in the top-20 for Valpo: senior Sidney Noble (Powhatan, Va./Powhatan) for the men and senior Kim Heiny (Burnettesville, Ind./Twin Lakes) for the women.
How It Happened
• For the men, Noble crossed the finish line at 19:38.1, to earn 17th in the 6K. He did not race last year for the Crusaders.
• Junior Ben Zibricky (New Lenox, Ill./Lincoln Way Central) tallied a 36th-place finish (19:52.6). He trimmed nearly 41 seconds off his time from last season’s Crusader Open (20:33.8).
• Sophomore Victor Fortin (East Peoria, Ill./Peoria Notre Dame) improved his time from last year’s meet, garnering a time of 19:53.8.
• The freshman trio of Dominic Paoletti (Monroe, Mich./Monroe St. Mary), Joey Black (O’Fallon, Ill./O’Fallon) and Nathan Izewski (Palatine, Ill./Palatine) raced their first collegiate meet for the Crusaders. The rookies finished fourth, fifth and sixth respectively for the squad.
• On the women’s side, Heiny began her final campaign for Valpo with an 18th-place finish, ending at 19:15.9 in the 5K. The veteran clipped 23 seconds off her finish a year ago at the meet.
• Opening up her Crusader career was freshman Sarah Caesar (Fox River Grove, Ill./Cary-Grove), who had a strong first meet. Caesar was the second Valpo runner to complete the circuit, crossing the finish line at 19:28.1.
• Sophomore Katherine Germann (Cincinnati, Ohio/Finneytown) had a solid performance, and finished with a time of 19:39.6, eliminating 39 seconds off of her time from last season’s meet.
• Two other freshmen etched their names in the Valpo all-time roster, as Olivia Recker (Fishers, Ind./Hamilton Southeastern) and Kathleen Neal (Zionsville, Ind./Zionsville) raced in their first collegiate meet.
• Notre Dame swept the top five places for a perfect score of 15 to win the men’s race. On the women’s side, Purdue edged out Notre Dame, 33-40, for top honors.
Coach Straubel’s Comments
“We really improved our times and had much better positions as compared to last year. We’re doing things the right way - it’s early in the season and we’re still a little green out there.”
“We’re still in heavy training right now, and will keep it going for another three or four weeks. This will help us see where we are at. The big key right now is to keep learning.”
The Crusaders take two weeks off from competition and come back on Friday, Sept. 15 for the Spartan Invitational. The meet will begin at 11:15 a.m. CT in East Lansing, Mich.