The Valparaiso University men’s and women’s cross country teams began their 2018 campaign by hosting the 30th annual Crusader Open at Sunset Hills Farm on Friday. A pair of Crusaders highlighted the Top 15 in both races. Redshirt junior Alexander Bruno (Bloomington, Ill./University) was the top finisher for the men, while junior Katherine Germann (Cincinnati, Ohio/Finneytown) led the way for the women.
How It Happened
- Valpo rallied behind Bruno, who finished with a time of 18:41.3, good enough for 14th in the 6 K.
- Two freshmen, Jack Worman (Hanover Park, Ill./Hoffman Estates) and Ignacio Veloz Bonilla (San Juan, P.R./American Military Academy) had promising starts to their Valpo careers, finishing second (19:18.3) and third (19:23.8) respectively for their side.
- Senior Connor Hickey (Peru, Ill./LaSalle-Peru) made the most of his final Crusader Open, finishing fourth on the team and improving his time from last year by over one minute and 15 seconds.
- Germann finished in 14th place in the women’s race, crossing the line at 18:35.6, a personal record for the junior captain.
- Sophomore Sarah Caesar (Fox River Grove, Ill./Cary-Grove) battled through a lingering injury and put together a strong outing. She was the second Valpo runner across the finish line, ending her day at 20:15.1.
- Right behind Caesar was her teammate, freshman Sarah Messerschmidt (Tower Lakes, Ill./Barrington), who impressed in her first meet in Valpo colors, completing the Sunset Hills circuit in 20:21.4.
- Junior Taylor Justison (Chatham, Ill. / Glenwood) saw great improvement in performance as well, shaving nearly two minutes off her time from last season’s meet and finishing fourth on the squad with a time of 20:54.1.
Thoughts from Head Coach Mike Straubel
“It was a positive start. I almost think of the first meet of the season as preseason, and the real season will start in two weeks.”
“The weather was pretty hot. I think that affected some of them, and slowed them down a bit, so I’m optimistic that the times will get much faster.”
Valpo will now prepare for its second meet of the season, as it will have two weeks before traveling to the Bradley Intercollegiate in Peoria, Ill. on Friday, Sept. 14. The meet is scheduled to begin at 5 p.m. CT for the women and 5:45 p.m. for the men.