The Valparaiso University men’s and women’s cross country teams finished their 2017 seasons on Friday afternoon at the NCAA Great Lakes Regional at the LaVern Gibson Championship Cross Country Course in Terre Haute, Ind. The men finished 24th and the women came in 30th. Both squads defeated Missouri Valley Conference foe Evansville and the men also bested Green Bay. Seniors Sidney Noble (Powhatan, Va./Powhatan) and Kim Heiny (Burnettsville, Ind./Twin Lakes) led the charge for the Crusaders.
How It Happened
- Noble earned a time of 34:13.5 to finish first for Valpo in the 10K. This is his third-best mark of the season for the Crusaders after not competing at all last season.
- Freshman Joey Black (O'Fallon, Ill./O'Fallon) garnered the men’s second-place performance. His time of 34.29.0 earned him his top placing of the year. Classmate Dominic Paoletti (Monroe, Mich./Monroe St. Mary) crossed the line in 34:57.6, rounding out the under 35-minute finishers.
- Junior Ben Zibricky (New Lenox, Ill./Lincoln Way Central) tallied a time of 35:15.8 to fourth among runners for the Brown and Gold.
- Sophomore Victor Fortin (East Peoria, Ill./Peoria Notre Dame), freshman Nate Izewski (Palatine, Ill./Palatine) and junior Connor Hickey (Peru, Ill./LaSalle-Peru) placed in that order to help Valpo defeat two teams.
- Heiny continued her impressive senior campaign by sealing her seventh top nod of the year, coming in first in every meet for the Crusaders. The veteran ran a 23:41.5 in the 6K, helping her finish 10 spots higher than last year’s performance in the Regionals.
- Freshman Sarah Caesar (Fox River Grove, Ill./Cary-Grove) crossed the line next, coming in at 24:33.5. She earned her second top-two mark of the year for the women’s squad.
- Sophomore Kate Mitchell (Algonquin, Ill./Huntley) followed closely behind, hitting the line at 24:37.4. She finished five spots better than a year ago.
- Sophomores Celia McGhiey (Carmel, Ind./Carmel) and Nicole Berneche (Glen Ellyn, Ill./Glenbard West) and freshman Ana Neal (Zionsville, Ind./Zionsville) all finished back-to-back-to-back for Valpo.
The Crusaders graduate three runners on the men’s side, with only one competing in all seven meets this season. For the women, two will graduate, but only competed this year. Head coach Mike Straubel’s men’s team is expected to welcome back 13 student-athletes, while the women return eight runners for next year.