The Valparaiso men’s and women’s cross country teams open their season this weekend with the 26th annual Crusader Open on Friday, September 5. This will be the 21st straight year the Crusaders have opened with the meet. Notre Dame, IUPUI andWestern Michigan’s women’s team will be competing in the open.
Head coach Mike Straubel returns a talented senior class on the men’s team. Led by David Rutkowski, who posted top times of 26:04 at the Bradley Classic 8K and a 33:14 at the NCAA Regionals, the team welcomes back seniors Eric Loria and Trace Ostergren, who did not compete last year as they studied abroad.
The women also return several outstanding runners from last year. Senior Jessica Richardson finished first among Crusaders at every meet last year, posting top times of 18:25.4 at the Notre Dame Invite (5K) and 21:51 at the Bradley Classic 6K. Junior Dezzarae Arce looks to pick up right where she left off last year, posting a 5K best 20:05.06 at Notre Dame and finishing 23:44 at the NCAA Regional meet.
After the Crusader Open, both teams head north to Canada to race in the Western Invitational on September 20, then head to Notre Dame on October 3, followed by the Bradley Invite on October 17 before the Horizon League Championships on November 1 and concluding with the NCAA Great Lakes Regional on November 14.
-Valpo Cross Country-