The Valparaiso University track and field teams recorded several Top 5 finishes on Saturday afternoon at the Fred Wilt Invitational hosted by Purdue University in West Lafayette, Ind. The Crusaders had nine performances finish fifth or better throughout the day at Lambert Fieldhouse. The top performance for the men came by a second-place finish from senior Alex Watson (Bolivar, Ohio/Tuscarawas Valley) in the pole vault, and by sophomore Anne Mou (Bloomingdale, Ill./Lake Park), who was third in the triple jump, for the Valpo women.
How It Happened
- The women’s 800-meter run saw two Crusaders crack the Top 10. Sophomores Taylor Justison (Chatham, Ill./Glenwood) and Kate Mitchell (Algonquin, Ill./Huntley) went 2:34.42 and 2:34.55 to finish eighth and ninth, respectively.
- In the women’s 3000-meter run, freshman Sarah Caesar (Fox River Grove, Ill./Cary-Grove) crossed the line seventh with a time of 11:14.93.
- Freshman Carli Sowonik continued her success in the pole vault with a fourth-place finish of 11 feet, one-quarter inch. This marks the third week in a row Sowonik has improved.
- In the long jump, Mou was able to hold onto eighth place with a jump of 15-11½.
- Mou’s third-place finish came when she went 36-1¼ in the triple jump, while teammate sophomore Shannon Lahey (Dixon, Ill./Dixon) was sixth with a jump of 32-9.
- For the men in the 400-meter dash, sophomore Ben Sekuloski (Lowell, Ind./Lowell) sprinted into fifth with a time of 50.52. Senior Brandon Riley (Chicago, Ill./Morgan Park) was not too far behind in seventh, clocking in at 51.51.
- In the men’s 600-meter run, senior Charles Banks (Valparaiso, Ind./Valparaiso) wound up seventh by crossing the line in 1:35.20.
- Freshman Joey Black (O’Fallon, Ill./O’Fallon) ran a 1:59.18 in the men’s 800-meter run to finish in eighth.
- The men’s 3000-meter run saw freshman Dominic Paoletti (Monroe, Mich./Monroe St. Mary) clock in fifth with a time of 9:02.88. Senior Sidney Noble (Powhatan, Va./Powhatan) held on for seventh when he was timed at 9:06.45.
- An exciting 4x400-meter relay was capped by a strong finish from Sekuloski to place the Crusaders fifth with an overall time of 3:28.25. Leading off the race for Valpo was freshman Da’Quan Harrell (Crown Point, Ind./Crown Point), then sophomore Bryce Otterbach (Mendota, Ill./Mendota Township) and third was Riley.
- Watson secured his runner-up finish for the Crusader men in the pole vault at a height of 15-7¼, which set a new career best. Sophomore teammate Jeremy Seiler (Angola, Ind./Fremont) placed right behind Watson for third. Seiler finished at 15-1½.
- In the men’s triple jump, senior Montel Hall (Waukegan, Ill./Waukegan) leapt 45-3½, which was good for fourth. Junior Collin McCullough (Hartland, Wis./Arrowhead) added a sixth-place finish with a jump of 40-11½.
- Sophomore Jake Rasawehr (Celina, Ohio/Celina) and senior Andrew Guzek (Valparaiso, Ind./Valparaiso) posted sixth and seventh-place finishes in the men’s shot put with throws of 46-9 and 46-7¼, respectively.
- Guzek then captured a third-place finish in the weight throw by tossing it 58-2, a couple feet farther than his mark from last week.
Inside the Meet
- Along with Watson’s career-best in the pole vault, Rasawehr and freshman Hayley Krulik (Crown Point, Ind./Crown Point) both posted career high marks in the weight throw. Rasawehr’s went 50-4, while Krulik’s reached 40-0.
- Mou, Seiler and Sowonik all had season highs in their respective events, as well. Mou jumped 36-1¼ in the triple jump, while Seiler reached 15-1½ and Sowonik climbed to 11-¼, each in the pole vault.
Thoughts from Head Coach Ryan Moore
On today’s performances: “It’s nice to see some of these individuals achieving these results as we get closer to bigger meets. We’re going to need them to perform at their best.”
On moving forward: “We still have a lot of work to do to get to where I expect we can achieve this year. Staying focused on what’s ahead and hard work at practice will pay big dividends in the end. Everyone has to pull their weight when the time is right, and we will be at our best then.”
The Crusaders will attempt to keep their momentum rolling with a trip to Notre Dame next Friday and Saturday, Feb. 2-3 for the Meyo Invitational.