Reigning Missouri Valley Conference Runner of the Week Evan Walda (Fort Wayne, Ind. / South Side) once again paced the Valparaiso University men’s cross country team on Friday evening at the Redbird Invite, hosted by Illinois State in Normal, Ill. His performance helped the Valpo men finish fourth of 12, while the women’s team was led by Grace Aurand (Highland, Ind. / Highland)
How It Happened
- Walda finished sixth in the men’s 8K with a time of 24:45.1. The strong finish came in a field of 123 runners. His time represented a new personal record, outdoing his previous mark of 25:00.2 from last season’s Bradley Pink Classic. This helped him move up in the program record book as he elevated from seventh to third. His new PR ranks behind only Alexander Bruno (24:23; 2018 MVC Championship) and Ignacio Veloz Bonilla (24:39.1, 2022 Bradley Pink Classic) in program history.
- The second Beacon to cross the finish line in the men’s race was Simeon Ehm (Castle Rock, Colo. / Heritage), who stopped the clock in 25:22.2. He placed 23rd. Joseph Scheele (Mahomet, Ill. / Mahomet-Seymour) at 25:26.0 (26th) and Karson Hollander (Crystal Lake, Ill. / Crystal Lake) at 25:46.4 (35th) were the next two Valpo runners to cross the finish.
- Aurand finished 22nd in the women’s 6K by virtue of her time of 22:44.5. Lauren Wroza (Rochester, Mich. / Rochester) followed at 23:06 (29th) and Vivian Rahmel (Springfield, Ill. / Sacred Heart-Griffin) completed the team’s top three at 23:36.7 (49th). Aurand is a veteran who is competing in her senior season, while Wroza and Rahmel are both promising rookies.
- The Valpo men finished in fourth of 12 in the team standings while the host Redbirds won the event. Missouri Valley Conference members Southern Illinois and UNI were among the eight teams that Valpo defeated. The women’s team finished eighth of 12 with Illinois State coming out on top.
The team’s next competition will take place on Friday, Sept. 29 as part of the Joe Piane Notre Dame Invitational in Notre Dame, Ind.