The Valparaiso University track and field teams returned to action to start the new calendar year on Friday at the Bob Eubanks Open, hosted by Grand Valley State in Allendale, Mich. The women were led by sophomore Anne Mou (Bloomingdale, Ill./Lake Park) in the triple jump and freshman Carli Sowonik (Hebron, Ind./Hebron) in the pole vault, each of whom placed second in their respective events. On the men’s side, senior classmates Montel Hall (Waukegan, Ill./Waukegan) in the triple jump and Alexander Watson (Bolivar, Ohio/Tuscarawas Valley) in the pole vault both finished third. The men collected 54 total points to place fifth out of 12, while the women were 10th of 14 teams with 21 points.
How It Happened
- In the 3000-meter run, senior Kim Heiny (Burnettsville, Ind./Twin Lakes) dropped 20 seconds for a new personal record, clocking in at 10:25.15. She finished in fourth place.
- Sowonik posted a height of 10 feet, 4 ¾ inches in the pole vault, which was good for a runner-up finish.
- In the triple jump, Mou was able to grab second as well with a 35-5 ¾ effort.
- Freshman Lauren Mikolajczak (Bloomingdale, Ill./Montini Catholic) set personal records in both the shot put (35-6) and weight throw (45-1 ¾).
- Sophomore Ben Sekuloski (Lowell, Ind./Lowell) sprinted to a fifth-place finish in the 200-meter dash with a time of 22.91.
- The 800-meter dash saw junior Connor Hickey (Peru, Ill./LaSalle-Peru) cross the finish line in 1:57.50, just a single one-hundredth ahead of teammate senior Ben Zibricky (New Lenox, Ill./Lincoln Way Central), who was timed at 1:57.51. They placed fifth and sixth, respectively.
- Junior Alexander Bruno (Bloomington, Ill./University) posted a fourth-place finish in the mile with a time of 4:21.19.
- In the high jump, freshman Will Maidment (Woodstock, Ill./Woodstock) placed fourth with a jump of 6-2.
- The Crusaders had four men place in the Top 10 in the pole vault. Leading the way was Watson with an effort of 15-3, which put him third. Junior Zach Topper (Portage, Ind./Portage) and sophomore Jeremy Seiler (Angola, Ind./Fremont) both reached 14-9, placing fourth and sixth, respectively.
- Junior Malik Riley (Romeoville, Ill./Romeoville) found himself in sixth place after the long jump event, with an effort of 20-1 ¾.
- Hall’s third-place finish came in the triple jump where he was recorded at 43-2 ½.
- Senior thrower Andrew Guzek (Valparaiso, Ind./Valparaiso) collected a sixth-place finish in the shot put, tossing it 46-7 ½.
Thoughts from Head Coach Ryan Moore
On Returning to Competition: “It was nice to see the whole body coming together to figure out where we’re going to be at this year. There’s room for improvement since we’re coming off break. You never really know what you’ll get until everyone is back. We will work out the kinks and see where everyone is at and go from there. All in all, I think it was a strong start to the year.”
On Moving Forward: “There were several bright spots today. I think we’re on par with what I’ve seen consistently from each group. There’s a good buzz with this program about the direction we’re going. I think it’s exciting.”
The Crusaders will head out to Fort Wayne, Ind. next weekend for the Fort Wayne Duals, which will take place on Saturday, Jan. 20.