The Valparaiso University men’s and women’s track and field teams are represented in a pair of meets this weekend, both of which got underway on Friday. The multi-event athletes traveled to the University of Chicago for the Windy City Invite, while others headed to Notre Dame for the Meyo Invitational. Shannon Lahey (Dixon, Ill./ Dixon) and Dominic Paoletti (Monroe, Mich./ Monroe St. Mary) both set all-time records for the Brown and Gold.
How It Happened - Chicago
- Lahey shattered the Valpo record for the indoor pentathlon with 2,261 points. She competed in the 60-meter hurdles, high jump, shot put and 800-meter run for the first time in her collegiate career. She also neared her season-best in the long jump with a mark of 16-1¼ (4.91m).
- Three Valpo athletes began competition in the heptathlon. Will Maidment (Woodstock, Ill./ Woodstock), Zach Fortener (Byron, Ill./ Byron) and David Engstrom (Buffalo Grove, Ill./ Adlai E. Stevenson) competed in the 60-meter dash, long jump, shot put and high jump, each registering career-bests in all four events.
- Maidment led the team in the high jump at 6-6¾ (2.00m), taking possession of fourth all-time in Valpo’s record book. He becomes the first athlete to earn a top-5 spot for the program in over 20 years, since Mark Massey tied for second in 1998. Maidment also led the way in the long jump at 21-0 (6.40m).
- Fortener was first on the team in the 60 at 7.48 and in the shot put at 32-1½ (9.79m).
- Engstrom’s 5-10 ½ high jump is second on the team this season.
How It Happened - Notre Dame
- Paoletti set Valpo’s all-time record for the indoor 5000-meter run with a time of 14:52.25. He unseated one of the school’s best distance runners in Aaron Crague, whose time of 14:53.15 had stood since 2000.
- Sophomore Alek Trafton (Lockport, Ill./ Lockport) led the way for Valpo in the weight throw with a career-best mark of 54-1¾ (16.50m). Eddie Juszczak (Lowell, Ind./ Lowell) and Jake Rasawehr (Celina, Ohio/ Celina) followed with marks of 51-4¼ (15.65m) and 51-1½ (15.58m), respectively.
- Katherine Germann (Cincinnati, Ohio/ Finneytown) topped her season’s best time in the 5000-meter run by 26 seconds on Friday, coming across the line at 18:33.30.
- Jeremy Seiler (Angola, Ind./ Fremont) set a season-high in the pole vault, clearing 14-11 (4.55m).
- Junior Lauren Mikolajczak (Bloomingdale, Ill./ Montini Catholic) hit 51-6½ (15.71m) in the weight throw.
Inside the Meets
- At the end of Day 1, Maidment leads the way for Valpo in the heptathlon with 2,549 points. He is currently placed fourth in the meet. Fortener finished the first four with 2,360 points and Engstrom with 1,923 points.
- All three athletes have a chance of breaking into the top-5 by catching Alex Ruscitti’s 2016 mark of 3,900 when they compete in the 60-meter hurdles, pole vault and 1000-meter run on Saturday.
- Paoletti has found a niche in the 5000-meter run this year, even before Friday’s record-setting performance. On Jan. 17, he finished first on the team in the race and set Valpo’s third-best time. In the following meet, on Jan. 25, Paoletti again led the team and this time set Indiana State’s facility record when he won the race. He is now top-5 for the program in both the indoor (first) and outdoor (fourth) 5000.
Thoughts from Head Coach Ryan Moore
“We had a great start to the weekend. We thought we would try something new with some of our athletes and enter in the multi events. Everybody in those events is still pretty young, so it is a good sign for things to come for guys like Zach, who has been training for the heptathlon specifically.”
“Trafton had a huge PR in the weight throw, and he still has a lot more in the tank for tomorrow. Paoletti setting the school record this early in the season is very exciting.”
“I’m really looking for someone to have a standout performance tomorrow. I think it’s important that we start to see all of our talented athletes take the next step athletically and really begin to show us what they’re made of as we head into the conference championships in a few weeks.”
Maidment, Fortener and Engstrom will return to the University of Chicago for the second half of the heptathlon on Saturday. Other athletes will head back to Notre Dame for the day two of the Meyo Invitational, also on Saturday.