The Valparaiso University men’s and women’s track and field teams returned from winter break to continue the 2019-2020 indoor season at the Bill Clinger Classic, hosted by Grand Valley State University in Allendale, Mich. on Friday. Valpo enjoyed a successful meet as Sierra Fischer (Brookfield, Wis./ Brookfield [Carroll]) and Alexander Bruno (Bloomington, Ill./ University) combined to set three all-time records for the Brown & Gold.
How It Happened
- Fischer again led the women’s team in its return to action. The senior won the 600-meter run with a mark of 1:38.29 and set Valpo’s all-time record in the process. Her time is over a second faster than what Amanda Meyer ran in 2004, and she becomes the first runner to break the program’s Top 5 in that event in five years.
- Bruno had a night for the ages. The standout senior started the meet by bolstering his program-best time in the indoor mile. He won the race with a time of 4:08.97, topping his previous record-setting time of 4:09.78. Later, Bruno set the program record in the 800-meter run, also winning that race with a time of 1:52.93. That mark is nearly two seconds better than Nate Nunnelly’s previous record of 1:54.79, which had stood since 2003.
- Lauren Mikolajczak (Bloomingdale, Ill./ Montini Catholic) finished atop the standings in the open weight throw. Her mark of 54-5½ (16.60m) set a staggering new PR, beating her previous high-water mark by over one meter (nearly 3.5 feet) and bumping her up to third in program history in that event.
- Jack Worman (Hanover Parks, Ill./ Hoffman Estates) finished second in the men’s 3000-meter run. His time of 8:26.41 is the second-fastest time ever run by a Valpo runner. Dominic Paoletti (Monroe, Mich./ Monroe St. Mary) finished sixth in the race and moved up to third all-time for Valpo. There have been four times in the past two seasons where a Valpo runner has recorded a Top-5 time in the 3,000. Although athletes have been cutting it closer, Aaron Crague’s 2001 record of 8:18.49 still stands.
- Sophomore Ignacio Veloz Bonilla (San Juan, P.R./ American Military Academy) also set a personal best in the indoor mile. His time of 4:19.89 was good for 11th place out of 85 runners. Freshman Eric Carothers (Fishers, Ind./ Hamilton Southeastern) ran in his first collegiate track meet and finished third on the team in the mile, running 4:27.31.
- Veloz Bonilla (1:57.03), Joey Black (O’Fallon, Ill./ O’Fallon; 1:58.99) and Carothers (2:00.85) all set personal bests in the 800-meter run.
- Mikolajczak was not the only thrower to have success for the women in the weight throw, as junior Hayley Krulik (Crown Point, Ind./ Crown Point), who finished seventh with a mark of 49-0¼ (14.94m), and Michelle Pierce (Indianapolis, Ind./ Heritage Christian), who turned in a mark of 44-4¾ (13.53m), also set career bests.
- Eddie Juszczak (Lowell, Ind./ Lowell) and Jake Rasawehr (Celina, Ohio/ Celina) led the way in the weight throw for Valpo. Juszczak competed in the invite event, setting a new personal record at 52-1¾ (15.89m), while Rasawehr finished fourth in the open event at 52-0.5 (15.86m).
- Alek Trafton (Lockport, Ill./ Lockport) also PR’d in the weight throw, landing a mark of 48-4½ (14.74m). Trafton also set a PR in the shot put at 46-1¼ (14.05m).
- The freshman Lukas Sepulveda led his team in the open 60-meter dash, finishing in ninth place in a field of 50 runners and recording a time of 7.31. Sepulveda also set a new PR in the 200-meter dash, coming across at 23.28.
- Will Maidment (Woodstock, Ill./ Woodstock) finished sixth in the high jump, clearing 6-4¾ (1.95m).
- Ben Sekuloski (Lowell, Ind./ Lowell) led the way for the men in the 400-meter dash, finishing fourth with a time of 50.52. Emanuel Daggett (Chicago, Ill./ Gavit) was the team’s next finisher at 51.30.
- Taylor Justison (Catham, Ill/ Glenwood) led the way for the women in the 800-meter run. She finished within a hair of her personal best in the event, as her time of 2:24.58 was within 5 one-hundredths of her PR. She placed 20th out of 66 runners.
- Seniors Alaina Carpenter (Grandville, Mich./ Grandville) and Katherine Germann (Cincinnati, Ohio/ Finneytown) finished neck-and-neck in the 3000-meter run, coming across at 10:54.70 and 10:55.65, respectively.
- Shannon Lahey (Dixon, Ill./ Dixon) cleared her previous season-best in the long jump by over 7 inches, landing at 16-5¾ (5.02m).
Inside the Meet
- As a team, the Valpo women (22 points) finished 7th out of 20 teams, while the men (28 points) took 6th out of 18.
- In all, Valpo finished Friday’s meet with three new all-time records and six total entries in the record books.
Thoughts from Head Coach Ryan Moore
“This was a great start to the indoor season. I think we are gearing up for a great indoor campaign from our top athletes.”
“Lauren still has more in the tank and is getting acclimated to the speed she is now able to generate in the ring. Hayley is making some great improvements in the weight throw and her time is coming; she will line up another big toss in the coming weeks. Overall, our throwers’ training has been hard, and their bodies are taxed right now. This makes it difficult to keep up with the speed at times. When we back off training later in the season, I expect some great results from all of the throwers.”
“Bruno recorded two PRs and set the school record in the two events. We are planning to take him to Boston to compete on one of the fastest tracks in the country. This would give him the best chance at making a run beyond conference this year. He is a talented man with more to prove. Jack Worman and Dominic are now second and third all-time in the 3K. Jack is fully healthy for the first time in a while, and it is showing on the track and in workouts. Dominic continues to impress me with his hard work as well. Taylor Justison hit 2:24 in the 800 as well. It’s nice to see those times coming together as we start the year.”
Valpo will look to keep their momentum heading into their next meet, when the squads will head to Terre Haute to compete in Indiana State’s John Gartland Invitational on Saturday, Jan. 25.