Members of the Valparaiso University men’s and women’s track and field teams competed at three different meets on Friday. Senior Jacob Smutz faced a loaded field in the weight throw at Arkansas’ Tyson Invitational in Fayetteville, Ark., while a number of the Crusaders’ distance runners ran at the GVSU Big Meet in Allendale, Mich. Meanwhile, a portion of the Valpo women’s squad saw action at the Chicagoland Championships in Naperville, Ill.
Smutz, who looks poised to set a new program record in the weight throw before his final indoor season is up, was tested against throwers from a number of power conference schools on Friday. But the Crusader senior held his own, posting a top mark of 63’6” to finish in fourth place in the 23-thrower field, just ¼” shy of the third-place mark.
The highest number of Crusader athletes were in action Friday evening in Naperville, as North Central College hosted the women’s side of the Chicagoland Championships. Despite not sending a full squad to the meet, the Valpo women tallied 17 points, good for 13th place in the 19-school field.
A trio of Crusader women posted top-five finishes in the infield, led by the effort of senior Sarah Peters, who cleared 11’6 ¼” in the pole vault to place second. Freshman Abby Jankowski registered a toss of 40’9” in the shot put to finish in fourth place, while fellow freshman Chidimma Ozodi improved upon her PR in the long jump with a leap of 17’3 ½”, good for a fifth-place finish and the fourth-best showing the Crusader history.
On the track at the Chicagoland Championships, the Valpo women were led by sophomore Hannah Reynard. Reynard qualified for the finals in the 60m hurdles with a PR of 9.55 seconds, tied for third-fastest in Crusader history, and also placed 12th in the 400m dash with a time of 1:01.52. Meanwhile, six men’s and women’s distance runners competed in their respective 5,000m runs at Grand Valley State, with sophomore Kim Heiny leading the Valpo women as she crossed the line in 18:17.74 – just 13 seconds shy of Valpo’s all-time top-five.
More action is in store for the Valparaiso track and field squads on Saturday, as the men compete in their half of the Chicagoland Championships, while some Crusaders will also be running in Saturday’s portion of the GVSU Big Meet.