The Valparaiso University track & field team closed out the Missouri Valley Conference Outdoor Championships on Sunday with several strong performances to build upon in the seasons to come. Valpo cracked the program record book in one relay and one individual distance event on the final day of competition in Des Moines, Iowa.
How It Happened
- A key performance came from Grace Aurand (Highland, Ind. / Highland) in the women’s 5,000, as she turned in a time of 17:35.57 to outdo her previous personal best of 17:57.05. Furthermore, Aurand’s time helped her join the program record book in that event as she now owns the third-fastest outdoor 5,000 in Valpo history. It was the best time by a Valpo runner in that event since Danielle Nunnelly’s 2006 effort of 17:12.77.
- Valpo scored two points with a seventh-place finish in the 4x400 relay at 3:21.97. The group was comprised of Nehemiah Ray (Chicago, Ill. / Brother Rice), Ignacio Veloz Bonilla (San Juan, P.R. / American Military Academy), Ja’Xon Sibley (Lafayette, Ind. / McCutcheon) and Ethan Litavecz (Highland, Ind. / Highland). That marked Valpo’s fifth-fastest 4x400 in program history, bumping the 2014 group of Hatchett, Holy, Slenk and Butts from the top five.
- Another PR by the Valpo distance group came in the men’s 5000, where Evan Walda (Fort Wayne, Ind. / South Side) was the first Beacon to cross the finish line, doing so in 14:56.88, a new personal best in that event. Walda’s time was just outside of the all-time top-5 in Valpo history. Simeon Ehm (Castle Rock, Colo. / Heritage) was not far behind with a time of 15:01.97.
- Ehm also raced in the finals of the men’s 1500 and turned in a time of 4:01.68.
- In the men’s discus, Eddie Juszczak (Lowell, Ind. / Lowell) had Valpo’s top toss with a 42.11-meter (138-2) throw. On the women’s side, Tori Gerhardt (Westville, Ind. / Chesterton) posted a discus heave of 34.62m (113-7). That shattered her previous personal record of 34.51m in that event.