The Valparaiso University track and field teams finished their season on Sunday in Terre Haute, as Indiana State hosted Day 3 of the Missouri Valley Conference Outdoor Championships. Valpo’s success was most prevalent in the performances of junior thrower Jake Rasawehr (Celina, Ohio/Celina), who set a personal best, medaled and earned an additional season best while competing in three events for Valpo. By virtue of a top-3 finish in the discus, Rasawehr earned all-conference recognition. In addition, Julia Rustmann (Grosse Pointe, Mich./Grosse Pointe North [Michigan State]) shattered a school record in the 800-meter run that had stood since 2006.
How It Happened
- Rasawehr capped off the season with quite the performance in the men’s discus. The junior hurler authored a third-place finish in the event finals. His career-best throw of 167-5½ (51.04m) padded his lead for second in program history. Rasawehr is now a mere 3½ inches short of Valpo’s all-time record (170-10; 52.07m) set in 2008 by one of the program’s most accomplished athletes of the century, Steve Bartholomew. Rasawehr also hit a season-high in the shot put (44-1; 13.44m) and landed only a few inches away from a PR in the hammer throw, hitting a mark of 150-5 (45.85m).
- Rustmann broke the Valpo record in the 800 by establishing a PR for the second day in a row. She finished the race with a sixth-place finish and a time of 2:14.36, earning three points for Valpo along the way. Her time edged out the record set by Danielle Nunnelly in 2006 by 0:00.01 as Nunnelly went 2:14.37.
- Jack Mader (Granger, Ind./Penn) and Jack Worman (Hanover Parks, Ill./Hoffman Estates) each set a personal bests in the 5000-meter run. Mader, who four weeks prior had lost his spot in Valpo’s all-time Top 5 to teammate Dominic Paoletti, claimed the program’s third-best time ever in the event at 14:50.53. Paoletti (Monroe, Mich./Monroe St. Mary), who finished Sunday’s race with a time of 14:56.24, owns Valpo’s fourth-best mark (14:55.12) set during the April 13 Illinois Twilight. Worman finished just shy of overtaking Alexander Bruno’s fifth-place mark of 14:55.28, coming across the line at 14:55.60.
- The women’s team had three throwers set new career highs in the discus. Hayley Krulik (Crown Point, Ind./Crown Point), Lauren Mikolaijczak (Bloomingdale, Ill./Montini Catholic) and Michelle Pierce (Indianapolis, Ind./Heritage Christian) all topped their previous bests by over one meter, hitting marks of 124-6 (37.95m), 121-3 (36.96m) and 104-2¼ (31.76m), respectively.
- Freshman Alek Trafton (Lockport, Ill./Lockport) set a personal record alongside teammate Rasawehr in the discus throw with a mark of 129-4 (39.42m). Fellow freshman Edward Juszczak (Lowell, Ind./Lowell) saw his best throw land just behind his teammate’s at 127-9 (38.94m).
- Anne Mou (Bloomingdale, Ill./Lake Park) set an outdoor career-best mark in the triple jump, landing at 37-2 (11.33m). The mark is less than half an inch shy of her overall career best (11.34m), which she set at the MVC Indoor Championships back on Feb. 24.
- J. Weinzimmer (Northbrook, Ill./Glenbrook North) finished eighth in the triple jump with a mark of 45-0½ (13.73m) and earned a point for his squad in the process.
- The women’s 4x100 team – comprised of Aaliyah Strickland (Chicago, Ill./Westinghouse College Prep), Sierra Fischer (Brookfield, Wis./Brookfield (Carroll), Jordan Houlihan (Hickory Hills, Ill./Amos Alonzo Stagg) and Shannon Lahey (Dixon, Ill./Dixon) – picked up a season-best time in their last performance of the year with a 50.44. The women’s 4x400 team also set a new season best, as Fischer, Taylor Justison (Catham, Ill./Glenwood), Maranda Donahue (Delton, Mich./Delton-Kellogg) and Rustmann ran the relay in 4:08.42.
- The men’s 4x100 team also set a season-best time. Malik Riley (Romeoville, Ill./Romeoville), Ben Sekuloski (Lowell, Ind./Lowell), Emanuel Daggett (Hammond, Ind./Gavit) and Taylor Allen (Zionsville, Ind./Zionsville) combined for a 42.90.
Inside the Meet
- In all, Valpo athletes set 21 career bests over the course of the three-day meet.
- Between both teams, Valpo came away from the weekend with 16 points, led by Rustmann (3 points) and Rasawehr (6 points).
- The squads earned eight top-10 finishes in individual events.
- Rasawehr’s third-place finish is the highest individual finish of any Valpo athlete in a conference championship since the program joined the MVC prior to the 2017-18 season.
Thoughts from Head Coach Ryan Moore
“As the throws coach, I was super excited to see what Jacob [Rasawehr] and the rest of the throwers were able to accomplish. As a discus thrower myself, I take pride in the ability to coach the event and was impressed with the effort of this young squad today.”
“Jacob has worked so hard to reach this mark and will continue to strive toward next year’s goal of surpassing the school record, set by two-time athlete of the year Steve Bartholomew.”