The Valparaiso University distance runners competed in the Bill Clinger Classic on Friday afternoon at Grand Valley State University in Allendale, Mich., opening up a unique spring semester of competition for the track and field and cross country programs.
The meet was the first tune-up for the Valpo distance group, which is working toward the Missouri Valley Conference Cross Country Championships, slated for Wednesday, March 3 at Evansville.
Dominic Paoletti (Monroe, Mich. / Monroe St. Mary) crossed the finish line in 14:51 to place third in the men’s 5,000-meter run, in the process establishing a new personal record by bettering his time of 14:55.12 that already ranked second in program history.
Freshman Grace Aurand (Highland, Ind. / Highland) led the team in the women’s one-mile run in her first collegiate race, finishing in 5:29.28 to place seventh. Valpo’s top two finishers in the mile were both rookies, as Ellie Roeglin (Delafield, Wis. / Lake County Lutheran) clocked in at 5:34.56 to crack the Top 10 with a ninth-place finish.
Junior Alaina Carpenter (Grandville, Mich. / Grandville) led Valpo in the women’s 3000 at 10.58.24. In the men’s mile, sophomore Eric Carothers (Fishers, Ind. / Hamilton Southeastern) paced the team with a 4:23.99 to finish seventh, edging out freshman teammate Evan Walda (Fort Wayne, Ind. / South Side), who crossed the finish line in 4:24.88. Carothers was just off his personal indoor mile best of 4:23.68. Running in Section 2 of the men’s 3000-meter run, Walda posted a time of 8:59.98, the best on the team in that event and the best among 23 overall participants in Section 2.
The Valpo distance runners plan to compete again the weekend of Feb. 13 to continue preparation for the league cross country championships. In addition, the Valpo track & field program has announced plans to participate in the GVSU Open on Feb. 6 before splitting the squad the following week at the GVSU Big Meet (Feb. 12-13) and the Indiana State Invitational (Feb. 13).
The indoor track & field season will culminate Feb. 26-28 at the MVC Indoor Championships, which are hosted by the University of Northern Iowa at the UNI Dome in Cedar Falls, Iowa.