The Valparaiso University cross country program has announced its schedule for the 2021 season, which begins with the annual home meet on Friday, Sept. 3 at Sunset Hill Farm County Park in Valparaiso.
For the first time, the home meet will be known as the Winrow Open in honor of former Valpo head cross country coach Ed Winrow, who passed away in March 2020. This will mark the 32nd running of Valpo’s home meet, which returns after a one-year hiatus caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. The women’s 5K will begin at 5 p.m., while the men’s 6K is slated to get underway at 5:45 p.m.
After opening the season at home, Valpo will visit Normal, Ill. to compete in the Illinois State Invite on Friday, Sept. 17. Another familiar meet is on the docket for Friday, Oct. 1 as Valpo returns to the Joe Piane – Notre Dame Invitational in Notre Dame, Ind.
The season will continue on Friday, Oct. 15 as Valpo will participate in the Bradley Pink Classic in Peoria, Ill. again this season. That will serve as the final tune-up prior to the MVC Championship hosted by Illinois State on Oct. 29 in Normal, Ill., then Evansville will host the NCAA Great Lakes Regional on Nov. 12.
Under the direction of head coach Mike Straubel, who is entering his 35th season at the helm, the program’s distance runners thrived during MVC Outdoor Track & Field Championships, boasting 15 personal records. The 2020-21 slate saw sophomore Eric Carothers earn cross country All-MVC honors in addition to garnering the MVC Elite 17 Award, while senior Dominic Paoletti achieved Indoor All-MVC status in track & field and shattered the school record in the 10,000-meter run.