The Valparaiso University men’s and women’s track and field teams ended their indoor seasons on Sunday at the Horizon League Indoor Championships, hosted by Youngstown State. Senior Liz Owen (Freedom, Wis. / Freedom) was named the Women’s Indoor Track & Field Championships Outstanding Performer in the running events after first and second-place results in two events. The men’s team exited the championships with three Top 5 outcomes and finished fourth, while the women placed seventh.
How It Happened
- In the 400m race, Valpo had two runners cross the finish in fourth and fifth to help give the squad nine points. Freshman Ben Sekuloski (Lowell, Ind. / Lowell) came away with the higher mark by a hair, finishing with a time 49.38, while teammate junior Brandon Riley (Chicago / Morgan Park) earned 49.39. Both runners claim the second and third spots on the program’s career records list after their performances.
- Junior Ben Zibricky (New Lenox, Ill. / Lincoln Way Central) received a fifth-place mark in the 800m event, running a time of 1:56.40. The distance runner climbed his way up the school record book, erasing his previous fourth-place time of 1:56.63.
- Sophomore Connor Hickey (Peru, Ill. / LaSalle-Peru) tallied 4,076 points in the heptathlon, which places him third in team history in the event.
- In the triple jump, freshman Nick Ricks (St. Louis, Mo. / Lutheran North) leaped a 44’11 3/4" to earn sixth. Coming in seventh was junior Montel Hall (Waukegan, Ill. / Waukegan), who landed 44’10 1/4" from the starting point. The two jumpers move into fifth and sixth in Crusader history in the event.
- Junior Jonny Heagy (Pittsburgh, Pa. / Mt. Lebanon) led the team in the high jump at the HL Indoor Championships.
- Sophomore Alexander Bruno (Bloomington, Ill./University) was the team’s fastest runner in the mile race, crossing at 4:19.28.
- The 4x400m relay team of freshman Bryce Otterbach (Mendota, Ill. / Mendota Township), senior Anthony Franze (Gunter, Texas/Gunter), Riley and Sekuloski worked together and captured Valpo’s third-best time in school history.
- Owen earned her first-place mark in the mile race, crossing the line at 4:59.73. Her previous best in the event was a time of 4:57.10, achieved in 2014. Her second-best outcome was in the 800m event, earning a 2:14.81, nearly passing her second all-time mark in Crusader history.
- Sophomore Nellie Bonham (Palos Hills, Ill. / Stagg) earned the squad’s third Top 5 placing at the championships. In the shot put, she had a toss of 42’6 3/4”, moving her into fourth in program history.
- Freshman jumper Anne Mou (Bloomingdale, Ill. / Lake Park) achieved Valpo’s third longest distance in the triple jump, landing 36’1 1/2" from her launching point.
- The men ended with 59 points and the women tallied 23.
Valpo begins their outdoor season on Friday, March 17 in the Sunshine State. The team travels to the University of South Florida to partake in the Bulls Invitational in Tampa, Fla.