The Valparaiso University men’s and women’s cross country teams kicked off their seasons on Friday with the 31st running of the Crusader Classic at Sunset Hill Farm Country Park. Senior Katherine Germann (Cincinnati, Ohio/Finneytown) and redshirt sophomore Jack Worman (Hanover Parks, Ill./Hoffman Estates) led the team in their respective races.
How It Happened
- Worman, who earned a Top 15 finish, beat his previous best time for a 6K by over 15 seconds, crossing the line at 19:02.7. Germann paced the women’s team, authoring a Top 30 finish and a time of 19:11.3 in the 5K race.
- Junior Dominic Paoletti (Monroe, Mich./Monroe St. Mary) shattered his previous best by nearly 30 seconds, finishing second on the team with a time of 19:12.5. Right behind him was sophomore Ignacio Veloz Bonilla (San Juan, P.R./American Military Academy), who also set a PR and finished at 19:12.7.
- Sophomore Alaina Carpenter (Grandville, Mich./Grandville) made her collegiate cross country debut with a second-place team finish and a time of 19.47.4. Senior Taylor Justison (Catham, Ill./Glenwood) followed closely, earning a personal best for 5K by over one minute, finishing the race at 19:52.
- Maranda Donahue (Delton, Mich./Delton-Kellogg) set her 5K PR by over 50 seconds, finishing fourth on the team with a time of 20:12.3.
- Eric Carothers (Fishers, Ind./Hamilton Southeastern) led a group of five freshman males making their collegiate debut in Friday’s race. Carothers turned in an impressive 19:51.2 and a fourth-place team finish in his first race with Valpo.
- Danielle Durak (Joliet, Ill. / Joliet West) and Sarah Padilla (Grand Ledge, Mich./Grand Ledge) also made their collegiate debut on Friday, finishing at 21:37.3 and 22:31.6, respectively.
- In all, seven Valpo freshmen made their collegiate debuts at the event.
- Valpo held top runner Alexander Bruno out of the race. He will make his season debut in two weeks when Valpo visits Indiana State.
Thoughts From Head Coach Mike Straubel
“It is obvious that as a team we are off to a better start than last year. Maranda Donahue ran over two minutes faster than last year. Taylor Justison ran one minute faster than last year. For the women, we achieved our goal of breaking up Loyola and testing what we need to do to beat them by the end of the year.”
“The men also ran overall better than last year, which is a sign of faster races to come. Jack Worman, Dominic Paoletti and Ignacio Veloz Bonilla ran faster than last year.”
“In two weeks, we hope to get the better of Indiana State.”
Valpo’s next meet comes on Sept. 21 at Indiana State’s John McNichols Invitational in Terre Haute.