The Valparaiso University men and women’s cross country teams headed to Bradley University in Peoria, Ill. for the annual Pink Classic on Friday. Alexander Bruno (Bloomington, Ill. / University) and Katherine Germann (Cincinnati, Ohio/ Finneytown) led their squads in the final push before the conference championships. In addition, Dominic Paoletti (Monroe, Mich. / Monroe St. Mary) cracked the program’s all-time Top 5 in the 8K.
How It Happened
- Bruno led all Valpo runners on Friday with a 13th-place finish and a season-best time of 24:45.2 in the 8K race, just shy of his program record. He finished in a faster time than any other athlete in program history.
- Germann, meanwhile, was busy repeating her success in Peoria. One year after setting a career best 6K time at the 2018 Bradley Pink Classic, the senior captain trimmed her PR to 22:31.3 and led the Valpo women. She improved her top time, which remains the sixth fastest in program history.
- Alaina Carpenter (Grandville, Mich. / Grandville) was hot on the heels of Germann in her first career 6K race. The sophomore finished just eight seconds behind the team leader, posting a time of 22:39.7. That was the eighth-fastest 6K time in the history of Valpo women's cross country.
- Next in for the Valpo men were Paoletti and Ignacio Veloz Bonilla (American Military Academy/ San Juan, P.R.). Paoletti shattered his previous record for an 8K course by nearly 20 seconds. He came across the line at 25:07 and earned a 35th-place finish in a field of 165 runners. Veloz Bonilla also set a career best in the race with a time of 25:33.8. Paoletti’s time was the fifth-fastest in program history and fastest by someone not named Alexander Bruno since 2001.
- Senior Taylor Justison (Chatham, Ill. / Glenwood) crushed her top time for a 6K. She cut nearly two full minutes of her 2018 Pink Classic time, finishing at 22:34.6. Junior Sarah Caesar (Fox River Grove, Ill. / Cary-Grove) saw similar success, taking more than 30 seconds off her PR with a mark of 23:53.1.
- Valpo’s next two scorers were sophomore Jack Worman (Hanover Parks, Ill. / Hoffman Estates), who improved his season-best mark to 25:57.1, and junior Nathan Izewski (Palatine, Ill. / Palatine), who improved on his career-best time (set this year at Indiana State’s John McNichols Invitational) by over 20 seconds, finishing with a new PR of 26:35.3.
- Eric Carothers (Fishers, Ind. / Hamilton Southeastern) led a group of four freshmen - each of whom set PRs by over 15 seconds – with a time of 26:38.4.
- Sophomores Maranda Donahue (Delton, Mich. / Delton-Kellogg) and Claire Kovarik (Downers Grove, Ill. / Downers Grove North) also saw big improvements. Donahue (24:16.4) cut 44 seconds off her 6K time, while Kovarik (26:42.5) improved by over one minute.
- Two veteran runners saw their best marks of the year on Friday. Senior Victor Fortin (East Peoria, Ill. / Peoria Notre Dame) ran a 26:52.6, while junior Joey Black (O’Fallon, Ill./ O’Fallon) turned in a performance of 27:53.1.
Thoughts From Head Coach Mike Staublel
“We had a good day. Alexander Bruno got his racing legs back, and he is set up well for the conference meet. Dominic Paoletti ran a PR and moved to fifth on the all-time 8K list. Nate Izewski had a 20-second PR and was a big help at fifth for us. For the women, four of our top five finishers ran PRs. Alaina Carpenter ran the eighth-fastest 6K in school history, and Taylor Justison ran a PR by 1:59. We were very happy to beat Loyola.”
“So far, we have not had everyone ‘on’ at the same time. We will prepare for the conference meet and look to put everything together on the home course.”
Valpo will return to Sunset Hills Farm Park to host the Missouri Valley Conference Championships on Nov. 2. The men’s race is scheduled to start of 10:30 a.m., followed by the women’s race at 11:30. The meet will be broadcast on ESPN3 with links to live results and video available on ValpoAthletics.com.