Official Athletic Site of the Valparaiso University Crusaders
Crusader Women Set For 2011 Campaign
Nicole Zehel and the Crusaders open the season this weekend at home. (Ray Acevedo)
Nicole Zehel and the Crusaders open the season this weekend at home. (Ray Acevedo)

Thursday, September 01, 2011

A small and youthful squad will take to the cross country trails this year, as the Valparaiso women’s cross country team prepares for the start of the 2011 season this weekend.

The Crusaders feature just seven runners this year, while no seniors are on the roster.  Junior Haley Kerlin is the veteran presence on the 2011 roster, while she is joined by a quartet of sophomores entering their second years with the program.  A pair of freshmen also joins the Valpo squad for the 2011 campaign.

Kerlin is back for her third season with the Crusaders in 2011, having made giant strides forward during her sophomore season.  After running among Valpo’s top-five runners just once as a freshman, Kerlin contributed to the Crusaders’ team score in five out of six meets in 2010.  She also slashed over a minute off of her career-best 5K time, posting a season-best time of 20:00.97 at last year’s Crusader Open.

Among Valpo’s four sophomores is a pair of runners who were among the Crusaders’ top-five runners in all six races as freshmen.  Claire Johnson lowered her 5K time consistently over the course of the season, eventually running a season-best 19:13.97 at the Horizon League Championships, where she paced the Valpo contingent and finished in 23rd place overall.  Johnson also led the Crusaders’ runners at the Notre Dame Invitational.  Meanwhile, Nicole Zehel also ran among Valpo’s top-five in all six meets, including a team-best 14th place effort at the Evansville Invitational.  Zehel also ran a season-best time that day at Evansville, covering the 5K course in 19:09.71.

Grace Shemwell competed in four races as a freshman, missing the middle two meets.  She placed among Valpo’s top-five twice, including a team-best time of 19:17.84 at the Crusader Open, good for 12th place.  Shemwell also contributed to Valpo’s team score at the NCAA Great Lakes Regional.  Grace Watkins ran at all six meets for the Crusaders as a rookie, improving over the course of the season.  Watkins sliced over three minutes off her 5K time from the start of the season to the Evansville Invitational, where she ran a season-best time of 21:06.83.  Freshmen Eileen Carmignani and Jessica Richardson join the Crusaders for 2011 as well.

The 2011 schedule consists of four races leading into the Horizon League Championships.  The Crusader Open will be contested for the 23rd time in 2011, and for the 18th straight year it will serve as Valpo’s season-opening meet.  Action at Sunset Hills Farm on Friday begins at 5 p.m. with the women’s race, set for five kilometers, while the men’s 6K will follow at 5:45 p.m.

Two weeks later, Valpo will travel outside of Indiana for the only time in the regular season, heading to the United States Naval Academy to compete in the Navy Invitational on Sept. 17.  On Sept. 30, a brief jaunt to the east is in the cards as the Crusaders will run at the Notre Dame Invitational, while Valpo’s final tuneup comes on Oct. 15 as it travels downstate to cover the course at the Evansville Invitational.

With four races under their belts, the Crusaders will aim to be peaking for the 2011 Horizon League Championships, hosted this year by Cleveland State University and scheduled for Saturday, Oct. 29.  The NCAA Great Lakes Regional is slated to be run Saturday, Nov. 12 in Toledo, Ohio.

W Tennis Valpo 0 Chicago, Ill.
Apr 14 Chicago State 7
M Tennis Valpo 7 Homewood, Ill.
Apr 15 Chicago State 0
Baseball Valpo CCD
Apr 15 Toledo
M Track Cougar Invitational River Forest, Ill.
Apr 17 No Team Score
W Track Cougar Invitational River Forest, Ill.
Apr 17 No Team Score
Baseball Valpo 4 Milwaukee, Wis.
Apr 17 Milwaukee 0
M Tennis Youngstown State 1 Valpo Tennis Complex
Apr 18 Valpo 6
Baseball Valpo 0 Milwaukee, Wis.
Apr 18 Milwaukee 3
Softball Oakland 3 VU Softball Field
Apr 18 Valpo 11
W Tennis Youngstown State 7 Valpo Tennis Complex
Apr 18 Valpo 0
M Golf Wolfpack Spring Open Raleigh, N.C. (Lonnie Poole Golf Course)
Apr 19 CCD
M Track DePaul Invitational Chicago, Ill.
Apr 19 2nd/3 (191)
W Track DePaul Invitational Chicago, Ill.
Apr 19 3rd/5 (82)
W Tennis Cleveland State 7 Valpo Tennis Complex
Apr 19 Valpo 0
Softball Oakland 1 VU Softball Field
Apr 19 Valpo 2
Baseball Valpo 0 Milwaukee, Wis.
Apr 19 Milwaukee 5
Softball Oakland 4 8 inn.
Apr 19 Valpo 2
M Tennis Cleveland State 5 Valpo Tennis Complex
Apr 19 Valpo 2
M Golf Wolfpack Spring Open Raleigh, N.C. (Lonnie Poole Golf Course)
Apr 20 12th/15 (314)
Baseball Kalamazoo 3 Emory G. Bauer Field
Apr 21 Valpo 10
Baseball Ohio Northern 2 Emory G. Bauer Field
Apr 22 Valpo 1
Softball Valpo 3 Macomb, Ill.
Apr 22 Western Illinois 1
Softball Valpo 5 Macomb, Ill.
Apr 22 Western Illinois 4
Softball Valpo 2 Notre Dame, Ind.
Apr 24 #21/21 Notre Dame 7
W Track Miami (Ohio) Invitational Oxford, Ohio
Apr 25
M Track Miami (Ohio) Invitational Oxford, Ohio
Apr 25
M Golf Horizon League Championship Howey in the Hills, Fla. (Mission Inn Resort & Club)
Apr 25
W Golf Horizon League Championship Howey in the Hills, Fla. (Mission Inn Resort & Club)
Apr 25
M Tennis Valpo Ann Arbor, Mich.
Apr 25, 2:00 p.m. UIC
Baseball UIC Emory G. Bauer Field
Apr 25, 3:00 p.m. Valpo
M Tennis Valpo Ann Arbor, Mich.
Apr 26, 3:00 p.m. Horizon League Tournament
M Track Miami (Ohio) Invitational Oxford, Ohio
Apr 26
W Track Miami (Ohio) Invitational Oxford, Ohio
Apr 26
W Golf Horizon League Championship Howey in the Hills, Fla. (Mission Inn Resort & Club)
Apr 26
M Golf Horizon League Championship Howey in the Hills, Fla. (Mission Inn Resort & Club)
Apr 26
Baseball UIC Emory G. Bauer Field
Apr 26, 12:00 p.m. Valpo
Softball Valpo Dayton, Ohio
Apr 26, 12:00 p.m. Wright State
Softball Valpo Dayton, Ohio
Apr 26, 2:00 p.m. Wright State
M Tennis Valpo Ann Arbor, Mich.
Apr 27, 2:00 p.m. Horizon League Tournament
M Golf Horizon League Championship Howey in the Hills, Fla. (Mission Inn Resort & Club)
Apr 27
W Golf Horizon League Championship Howey in the Hills, Fla. (Mission Inn Resort & Club)
Apr 27
Softball Valpo Dayton, Ohio
Apr 27, 12:00 p.m. Wright State
Baseball UIC Emory G. Bauer Field
Apr 27, 12:00 p.m. Valpo
Baseball Western Michigan Emory G. Bauer Field
Apr 29, 3:00 p.m. Valpo
Softball IUPUI VU Softball Field
Apr 29, 3:00 p.m. Valpo
Softball IUPUI VU Softball Field
Apr 29, 5:00 p.m. Valpo
Baseball Chicago State Emory G. Bauer Field
Apr 30, 3:00 p.m. Valpo
Softball Valpo Bloomington, Ind.
Apr 30, 3:00 p.m. Indiana (resumption of suspended game)
Softball Valpo Bloomington, Ind.
Apr 30, 4:00 p.m. Indiana
W Track Horizon League Outdoor Championships Youngstown, Ohio
May 2
M Track Horizon League Outdoor Championships Youngstown, Ohio
May 2
Baseball Oakland Emory G. Bauer Field
May 2, 3:00 p.m. Valpo
M Track Horizon League Outdoor Championships Youngstown, Ohio
May 3
W Track Horizon League Outdoor Championships Youngstown, Ohio
May 3
Baseball Oakland Emory G. Bauer Field
May 3, 12:00 p.m. Valpo
Softball Valpo Green Bay, Wis.
May 3, 1:00 p.m. Green Bay
Softball Valpo Green Bay, Wis.
May 3, 3:00 p.m. Green Bay
W Track Horizon League Outdoor Championships Youngstown, Ohio
May 4
M Track Horizon League Outdoor Championships Youngstown, Ohio
May 4
Softball Valpo Green Bay, Wis.
May 4, 12:00 p.m. Green Bay
Baseball Oakland Emory G. Bauer Field
May 4, 12:00 p.m. Valpo