The Valparaiso University men's track and field team recorded three victories on the final day of competition to help lead the Crusaders to a fourth place finish at the Mid-Continent Conference Outdoor Track and Field Championships held in Macomb, Ill. on Saturday. Valpo's place is its highest outdoor finish in school history.
Oral Roberts won the men's meet with 203 points, followed by Western Illinois with 185 points and Southern Utah with 154 points. The Crusaders tallied 108 points, followed by Chicago State in fifth with 92 points. UMKC scored 70 points.
Kristopher Schmautz (Missoula, Mont./Hellgate H.S.) opened the day recording a victory in the javelin with a toss of 187'1", a season's best. The freshman was also named Mid-Con Newcomer of the Year for his accomplishments in the meet. Jed Reisetter (Lewiston, Minn./Lewiston-Altura H.S.) finished seventh in the event with a toss of 141'11", while Ryan Smith (Maple Plain, Minn./Delano H.S.) was one place back with a season's best 134'5".
Valpo also scored in two of the three other field events that began the day. Brandon Shreve (Plainfield, Ill./Plainfield H.S.) turned in a personal best effort of 13'1 ½" in the pole vault to place fifth, while Brian Schultz (Sheboygan, Wis./South H.S.) was eighth in the triple jump with a leap of 41'1 ¾". Matt Larson (Arlington Heights, Ill./St. Viator H.S.) was the Crusaders top finisher in the discus with a tenth place effort (121'9").
On the oval the Crusaders excelled in the distance events. Nate Nunnelly (Valparaiso, Ind./Valparaiso H.S.) and Aaron Crague (Schererville, Ind./Lake Central H.S.) finished first and second in the 1,500m run respectively. Nunnelly broke the tape in 3:53.54 while his teammate was just 0.91 seconds behind.
Crague picked up his victory in the 5,000m run though. The fifth-year senior turned in a time of 15:09.29 to win by more than three seconds, while teammate Matt Blume (Logansport, Ind./Pioneer H.S.) was third finishing in 15:14.54. Rick Wenger (Belvidere, Ill./Belvidere H.S.) was fifth with a season's best time of 15:36.14 while Doug Brown (Bluffton, Ohio/Allen East H.S.) also turned in a season's best 15:45.82 to finish eighth giving the Brown and Gold four scorers in the event.
In the hurdles, Sean Barfield (University Place, Wash./Curtis H.S.) finished fifth the 110m event with a time of 15.31 seconds, while Schultz was seventh (15.58 seconds). Nathanel Noon (Birmingham, Ala./John Carroll H.S.) was eighth with a time of 15.66 seconds. The 400m hurdles saw Adam Wierciak (Ottawa, Ill./Marquette H.S.) place fourth with a time of 56.72 seconds.
Kyle Jones (Valparaiso, Ind./Valparaiso H.S.) turned in the Crusaders best effort in the 800m run with a 12th place finish in a time of 1:59.33.
Valpo's 4x100m relay of Joe Dwyer (Lansing, Ill./TF South H.S.), Raphael Awoseyin (Port Harcourt, Rivers, Nigeria), Joshua Lee (Yellow Jacket, Colo./Montezuma-Cortez H.S.), and Wesley Kosko (Emporia, Kan./Emporia H.S.) finished fifth with a season's best time of 43.99 seconds. The Crusaders 4x400m relay of Wierciak, Jeff Moscinski (Rockford, Ill./Christian Life H.S.), Jones, and Awoseyin also turned in a season's best time of 3:27.39 to finish sixth.
With their victories, Crague, Nunnelly, and Schmautz all qualify for the NCAA Mideast Regional Championship in two weeks in Columbus, Ohio.