A pair of podium finishes by freshman Julian Smith (Chicago, Ill./Brother Rice) earned him Male Running Newcomer of the Year honors as the Valparaiso men's track and field team completed the 2011 Horizon League Outdoor Championships in Indianapolis, Ind. in seventh place.
The Crusader men tallied 42 points over the three-day meet for the seventh-place finish. Milwaukee took home the team trophy with 156 points.
Smith earned his best finish of the meet in the 100m dash Sunday, cutting a quarter-second off his qualifying time as he ran the race in 10.68 seconds to finish in second place. The time was 16-hundredths fastest than his previous collegiate PR in the event, and improved upon his third-best time in Valpo history in the event. Smith, who finished fourth in the long jump on Saturday, also finished third on Sunday in the 200m dash, posting a time of 21.62 seconds in the finals.
On the infield, senior Jarrett Mickens (Aurora, Ill./Waubonsie Valley) also registered his second podium finish of the meet, placing third in the triple jump with a mark of 46'6 1/4”. The leap was less than two inches shy of his season best in the event. Senior Steve Schubert (Naperville, Ill./Benet Academy) leapt 45'9”, good for eighth place and matching his fourth-best mark in Crusader history as well, while sophomore Chris Hovan (Elkhart, Ind./Elkhart Christian) finished in 11th place with a jump of 41'6 1/2”, a new PR for the second-year Crusader.
Two other Crusaders also picked up top-tens on the infield as well Sunday. Sophomore Charlie Walesa (Chicago, Ill./Luther North) and freshman Travis Simmons (Angola, Ind./Angola) each cleared 6'1 1/4” in the high jump, with Walesa earning seventh place and Simmons eighth place. On the track, senior David Carter (Arlington Heights, Ill./John Hersey) led the way for Valpo in the 1,500m run, placing 16th with a time of 4:11.74, while junior Nick Fagan (Sycamore, Ind./Sycamore) finished 17th in the 5,000m run, crossing the line with a PR of 15:52.01.
On the relay front, the Crusader 4x100m relay squad of Smith, freshman Sean Carey (Lockport, Ill./Lockport Township), senior Ryan Ruppel (Grand Blanc, Mich./Grand Blanc) and freshman Joe Holy (Bolingbrook, Ill./Joliet Catholic) ran to a sixth-place finish, covering the distance in 43.47 seconds. Valpo's 4x400m relay team, which consisted of junior Derek Schnake (Chicago, Ill./Lincoln Park), Ruppel, junior Keith Button (Farmington Hills, Mich./Farmington) and sophomore Wally Bradford (Mukwonago, Wis./Mukwonago), came home in seventh place, crossing the line in 3:29.02.