The Valparaiso University men’s and women’s track and field teams wrapped up a two-day, two-city split schedule at the Windy City Rumble (hosted by University of Chicago) and the Meyo Invitational (hosted by Notre Dame) on Saturday. Day 2 was highlighted by Zack Fortener (Byron, Ill./ Byron), who launched himself into record books, and Emanuel Daggett (Chicago, Ill./ Gavit), who set multiple career bests and added a first-place finish.
How It Happened- Meyo Invitational
- Redshirt senior Alexander Bruno (Bloomington, Ill./ University) nearly repeated his record-breaking performance from two weeks ago in the one-mile run. Bruno earned a top-10 finish in the event with a time of 4:09.90, less than one second off his school record pace of 4:08.97 he ran on Jan. 17 at GVSU. His time on Saturday was over three seconds faster than any other runner in Valpo history.
- Ignacio Veloz Bonilla (San Juan, P.R./ American Military Academy) set his season-best (team’s third best) 3000-meter run on Saturday, crossing at 8:54.39.
- Senior Ben Sekuloski (Lowell, Ind./ Lowell) neared his best indoor time in the 400-meter dash, coming across the line at 49.36. He becomes the first runner to break 50-seconds for Valpo this season.
How it Happened - Windy City Rumble
- After finishing the heptathlon with 4,308 points, Fortener is now second all-time for Valpo, and was just 105 points shy of Elijah Owen’s 2015 record. Fortener led the team with a huge PR in the pole vault, clearing 12-1¾ (3.70m). He also set highwater marks in the 60-meter hurdles (9.42) and 1000-meter run (2:50.84).
- Will Maidment (Woodstock, Ill./ Woodstock) and David Engstrom (Buffalo Grove, Ill./ Adlai E. Stevenson) also completed the heptathlon on Saturday. Maidment finished with 3,711 points, just outside of Valpo’s top-5 list. Engstrom finished with 3,018 points.
- Daggett finished first in the 400-meter dash with a career-best time of 50.37, and now has the second-best time on the team the season. Daggett also posted a fourth-place finish in the 200-meter dash, and his time of 23.07 is also second best on the team. He also ran his career best time in the 60-meter dash with a time of 7.21—the team’s best this season.
- For the women’s team, Sierra Fischer (Brookfield, Wis./ Brookfield[Carroll]) again ran one of the best 400s in Valpo history. The senior won the event Saturday, giving her two first-place finishes and one third-place finish in her last three meets. Her time of 58.72 is less than one second off of the top-2 time she posted in the season’s opening meet at Notre Dame. Fischer also took second place in the 200-meter dash with a time of 25.85, bumping her up in the record books. She now owns Valpo’s third-best indoor 200 and is only half a second behind Amanda Body’s record from 2009.
- Eddie Juszczak (Lowell, Ind./ Lowell), Alek Trafton (Lockport, Ill./ Lockport) and Jake Rasawehr (Celina, Ohio/ Celina) finished 1-2-3 in the weight throw. Juszczak came within three inches of a PR, hitting 56-4¼ (17.18m). Trafton and Rasawehr finished neck-and-neck, hitting 53-4½ (16.27m) and 53-2¼ (16.21m), respectively.
- Rasawehr and Trafton also finished second and third in the shot put, with the former earning a season-best mark of 44-10½ (13.68m).
- Lauren Mikolajczak (Bloomingdale, Ill./ Montini Catholic) again led the team in the weight throw. She finished third in the event and hit 54-3½ (16.55m). In all, Valpo had four throwers take top-10 spots in the weight throw, with Mikolajczak followed by Michelle Pierce (Indianapolis, Ind./ Heritage Christian) at fifth, Hayley Krulik (Crown Point, Ind./ Crown Point) at seventh and Maria Greer (Chicago, Ill./ Williams Medical Prep) at 10th.
- Pierce was also the team’s top performer in the shot put, posting an indoor-best 36-7¾ (11.17m) and tying for third place. Krulik set a season-best mark in the event as well, hitting 32-10 (10.01m).
- Maidment, fresh off his heptathlon, tied for first in the open long jump, posting a mark of 6-4 (1.93m).
- Collin McCullough (Hartland, Wis./ Arrowhead) tied for second in the men’s long jump, posting a career indoor-best of 21-0¼ (6.41m).
- Lukas Sepulveda (Camano Island, Wash./ Stanwood) also set a PR in the 60-meter dash with a time of 7.25.
- Taylor Justison (Catham, Ill./ Glenwood) set a new highwater mark in the mile for the second consecutive meet. Her time of 5:22.74 was good for sixth place in a large field of 33 runners. Alaina Carpenter (Grandville, Mich./ Grandville) finished right behind her in seventh with a career-best time of 5:23.93. Maranda Donahue (Delton, Mich./ Delton-Kellogg) and Claire Kovarik (Downers Grove, Ill./ Downers Grove North) also PR’d, coming across at 5:33.97 and 5:59.94.
- Justison also led her squad in the 800-meter run, coming in at 2:29.05.
- Valpo took the top two spots in the 600-meter run. Bryce Otterbach (Mendota, Ill./ Mendota Township) not only won, he nearly matched his top mark in the event, finishing at 1:29.16. Sophomore Jared Humphrey (Hobart, Ind./ Andrean [Carthage]) was close behind, setting his career-best own at 1:29.98.
- In the men’s mile, freshman Eric Carothers (Fishers, Ind./ Hamilton Southeastern) set a career-best with a time of 4:23.68, finishing 10th out of 38 runners, while Joey Black (O’Fallon, Ill./ O’Fallon) ran his best mile of the season at 4:32.90.
- Taylor Smith (Crown Point, Ind./ Columbus East) recorded a career-best in the 60-meter dash, finishing at 8.66. Jordan Houlihan (Hickory Hills, Ill./ Amos Alonza Stagg) was close behind at 8.76.
- Valpo finishes the meets with 15 top-3 finishes, including five winners, six runners-up and four third-place finishes.
Valpo will again head to Allendale, Mich., this time for the GVSU Big Meet on Feb. 14-15. Valpo has just two more meets schedules before the MVC Indoor Championships begin on Feb. 29.