Steve Bartholomew (Valparaiso, Ind./Morgan Township H.S.) used a record-setting effort in the discus Saturday to earn Athlete of the Year honors at the Mid-Continent Conference Outdoor Track and Field Championships in Macomb, Ill.
Valparaiso finished in fifth place out of the seven participating institutions with 46 points, edging out Chicago State by one point. Southern Utah finished with 221 points to take home the team championship.
Bartholomew unleashed a monster throw of 170'4" to earn the gold medal in the discus, following up on his individual victory Thursday in the hammer throw. Bartholomew's effort was enough to win the event by an astounding 18 feet, and was nearly seven feet farther than his previous personal best.
The throw also bettered the NCAA regional qualifying standard of 169'7", qualifying Bartholomew for a second event at the regional meet. Bartholomew had previously surpassed the qualifying mark for the hammer throw.
Bartholomew led three Crusaders in the top seven in the discus. Eric Smith (Portage, Ind./Portage H.S.) placed fifth with his throw of 145'9", while Erik Lindamood (Warrenton, Va./Liberty H.S.) came in seventh with a toss of 143'11".
In the other field event finals Saturday, Philip Lohrmann (Battle Ground, Wash./Battle Ground H.S./Clark CC) matched the third-best height in Valpo history in the pole vault. Lohrmann's vault of 13'7 ¼" was good for seventh place. Kris Schmautz (Missoula, Mont./Hellgate H.S./Montana) recorded a ninth-place finish in the javelin with an effort of 147'2".
The Crusaders struggled on the track, failing to place anybody in the top-ten in the event finals held Saturday. Rich Krupar (Elyria, Ohio/Midview H.S.) led the Valpo contingent in the 1,500m run, finishing in 4:12.41, good for 12th place. Ben Radke (Crystal Lake, Ill./Prairie Ridge H.S.) matched that 12th place finish with one of his own in the 800m run, crossing the line in 2:01.73, while David Wheeler (Saint Charles, Ill./East H.S.) placed 11th in the 5,000m in 15:39.31.
Bartholomew will continue his season Friday, May 26 at the NCAA Mideast Regional Track and Field Championships, hosted by the University of Tennessee. The hammer throw will kick off the two-day meet at 10 a.m. CDT, while start time for the discus is set for 2 p.m.