Senior Jarrett Mickens (Aurora, Ill./Waubonsie Valley) set a new program record en route to victory in the long jump, while freshman Julian Smith (Chicago, Ill./Brother Rice) took the win in the 200m dash Saturday as the Valparaiso men's track and field team continued the 2011 outdoor campaign with a sixth-place finish at the Chicagoland Championships in Chicago, Ill.
The Crusaders tallied 43 points on Saturday to finish in a tie for sixth place in the 20-team field with Wheaton College. North Central (Ill.) took top team honors with 182 points.
Mickens, who entered his final outdoor season already holding program records indoors in both the long and triple jumps, recorded his third Crusader standard on Saturday, leaping 24'2 1/4” to win the long jump. Mickens' mark edged out Jeff Thomas' record, set 35 years ago in 1976, by a mere quarter-inch. The senior also finished on the podium in the triple jump, recording a jump of 46'8” for a third-place showing, while fellow senior Steve Schubert (Naperville, Ill./Benet Academy) placed eighth in the triple jump with a leap of 44'3 1/2”.
Meanwhile Smith, competing in his first outdoor season, broke onto Valpo's top-five in a pair of events Saturday. The rookie dueled with conference foe Anthony Hollingsworth of UIC in a pair of sprint events, with each edging out the other in one event. Smith captured the 200m dash with a time of 21.92 seconds, fourth-best in Valpo history, to edge Hollingsworth by two-hundredths of a second. Smith qualified for the finals of the 100m dash with the fastest preliminary time in the field, but would finish runner-up to Hollingsworth in the final by the same margin despite a time of 10.84 seconds, third-fastest all-time by a Crusader and swiftest in the last 25 years.
Elsewhere on the infield, junior Bill Rixon (Deerfield, Ill./Deerfield) posted a pair of top-ten showings Saturday. Rixon placed fourth in the hammer throw with a career-best mark of 160'5”, just shy of Valpo's all-time top-five in the event, and also finished tenth in the discus throw with a toss of 138'10”. Freshman Sean Carey (Lockport, Ill./Lockport Township) finished in a tie for fifth place in the pole vault by clearing 12'11 1/2” as well. On the track, Mickens and Smith teamed up with freshman Joe Holy (Bolingbrook, Ill./Joliet Catholic) and senior Ryan Ruppel (Grand Blanc, Mich./Grand Blanc) to finish ninth in the 4x100m relay, crossing the line in 43.65 seconds.
The Valparaiso men return to action at the Dave Rankin Invitational in West Lafayette, Ind. next weekend. The two-day meet begins on Friday, April 15 at 2 p.m. CDT.