Rachael Button's (Farmington, Mich./Farmington) third-place finish in the 10,000m run led Valparaiso on its first day of competition at the 2007 Mid-Continent Conference Outdoor Track and Field Championships in Kansas City, Mo.
The Crusaders totaled 12 points on the meet's first day, good for fifth place, just two points out of third position. Southern Utah currently paces the field with 41 points.
Button completed the 10,000m course in 41:06.38 to earn bronze-medal honors in the eight-runner field. Carissa Heinold (Charleston, Ill./Charleston) also posted a top-five finish, coming in fifth place with a height of 10'0" in the pole vault.
Emilie Marsicek (Spalding, Mich./Carney-Nadeau) led the Crusader contingent in the hammer throw with a toss of 141'6", good for seventh place. Ini Umana (Cottage Grove, Minn./Park) came in tenth place in the same event with a mark of 126'0".
After four of seven events in the heptathlon, Lindsey Gilman (South Bend, Ind./Marian) sits in eighth place, while Alicia Zinnecker (Cincinnati, Ohio/Indian Hill) holds tenth position. Gilman posted the best finish in an event on the day with a tie for third-best in the high jump, leaping 4'10 ½".
Valparaiso returns to the track on Friday at 9:30 a.m. for the second day of competition at the three-day championship meet.