The Valparaiso University men’s and women’s track and field teams headed to Terre Haute, Ind. on Saturday for Indiana State’s John Gartland Invitational. Lauren Mikolajczak (Bloomingdale, Ill./ Montini Catholic), Eddie Juszczak (Lowell, Ind./ Lowell) and Dominic Paoletti (Monroe, Mich./ Monroe St. Mary) each took home a first-place finish and helped lead Valpo to 15 top-three performances. Hayley Krulik (Crown Point, Ind./ Crown Point) cracked the Top 5 in program history in the weight throw.
How It Happened
- For the second straight meet, Mikolajczak had one of the best weight throws in program history. Not only was her mark of 54-6¾ (16.63m) good enough to win the event by nearly four-and-a-half feet (and earn Valpo 10 points in the process), it added an inch to her third-best mark in program history. Mikolajczak is now just two inches shy of Holly Hagen for second in Valpo history.
- Sophomore Juszczak had a similar finish to Mikolajczak in the men’s weight throw, and nearly added himself to the program’s record book. Juszczak won the event by over three feet, and his mark of 56-7¼ (17.25m) added four-and-a-half feet to his PR. He is now just over four inches shy of taking hold of fifth place in the program record book from Chris Sosnowski.
- Paoletti blew away the competition in the men’s 5000-meter run, as he finished first by nearly 12 seconds over second place. Not only did Paoletti earn 10 points for Valpo with the victory, his time of 15:00.57 crushed the facility record at Indiana State’s North Gym by over 32 seconds.
- Jack Worman (Hanover Parks, Ill./ Hoffman Estates) finished second in the men’s mile run, earning eight points for Valpo. Worman’s finish of 4:18.00 established a new career-best for the junior by over seven seconds.
- Sophomore Alek Trafton (Lockport, Ill./ Lockport) added over five feet to his PR in the weight throw, finishing second with a mark of 53-5 (16.28m).
- Emanuel Daggett (Chicago, Ill./ Gavit) had an impressive debut in the 60-meter dash. In his first entry in the event at the college level, he finished third with a time of 7.25.
- The men’s distance medley team—Worman, Sekuloski, Joey Black (O’Fallon, Ill./ O’Fallon), and Eric Carothers (Fishers, Ind./ Hamilton Southeastern) — finished second with a time of 10:37.42.
- While Mikolajczak added to her record performance, several other athletes scored points for Valpo in the event. In fact, all four athletes competing in the weight throw for the Brown & Gold set career bests. Krulik and Michelle Pierce (Indianapolis, Ind./ Heritage Christian) each set a new PR for the second time in as many meets. Krulik finished second with a mark of 49-10¾ (15.21m) – cracking the program’s Top 5 in that event – and Pierce finished third with a mark of 48-11½ (14.92m). Maria Greer (Chicago, Ill./ Williams Medical Prep) finished sixth with a 41-11½ (12.79m) mark.
- In the women’s 400-meter dash, Sierra Fischer (Brookfield, Wis./ Brookfield [Carroll]) finished third with a time of 58.49.
- The men’s 4x400-meter relay finished third on Saturday, with Daggett, Bryce Otterbach (Mendota, Ill/ Mendota Township), Jared Humphrey (Hobart, Ind./Andrean [Carthage]) and Zack Fortener (Byron, Ill./ Byron) running a 3:34.51.
- Taylor Justison (Catham, Ill./ Glenwood), and Alaina Carpenter (Grandville, Mich./ Grandville) also set new career bests in the indoor mile. Justison ran the women’s fastest time of the season at 5:26.04 and finished seventh. Carpenter came in at 5:27.93 and shaved seven seconds off her PR.
- Katherine Germann (Cincinnati, Ohio/ Finneytown) led the women in the 5000-meter run, finishing fourth with a time of 18:59.56.
- Pierce and Krulik led the women in the shot put, posing marks of 33-6¾ (10.23m) and 30-7¾ (9.34m), respectively.
- Daggett also set a season-best mark in the 400-meter dash after he led the team with a time of 51.12, good for fourth place. Ben Sekuloski (Lowell, Ind./ Lowell) was right on his heels, crossing at 51.13 and in fifth place.
- Sepulveda and Hughes led the Valpo men in the 200-meter dash, with Sepulveda coming in at 23.79 and Hughes at 24.09.
- Anne Mou (Bloomingdale, Ill./ Lake Park) saw her first action of the season, finishing second in a field of three triple jumpers and landing at 34-11¼ (10.65m).
Inside the Meet
- In total, Valpo finished with 15 top-3 performances: three first-place, six second-place and five third-place.
- The men’s team finished second in the meet with 102 points, while the women’s team came in fourth at 51 points.
Thoughts from Head Coach Ryan Moore
“Eddie getting his first win the weight throw was a great performance. Dom lowered his PR again in the 5K again today and is going to crack 15 very soon. Early in the season to be running times like he is makes us hopeful it’s a sign of good things to come.”
“Women’s throws going 1,2,3,6 was an incredible start to the day. Maria making finals for the first time was great. Hard work paying off. It’s great to see her believing in her abilities and just going out and competing. Hayley Krulik cracked the top 5 all time in weight and there's still more in the tank. Sierra continues to impress with her work on the track. It was nice to see Anne Mou back in action this week as we thought her academic career would have to take over since she’s in the PA program.”
Valpo continues its season next Saturday, Feb. 1 at the Indiana Wesleyan Midwest Classic in Marion, Ind.