The Valparaiso University track & field team competed in its first meet of the spring semester on Friday, getting a sneak peek of the facility that will host the 2023 Missouri Valley Conference Indoor Championships by making the short trip to Chicago’s southside for the Blue Demon Alumni Classic hosted by DePaul at Gately Park. Ignacio Veloz Bonilla (San Juan, P.R. / American Military Academy) got the new year off to a favorable start, setting a program record in the indoor 800 en route to winning the event. Click here for results.
How It Happened
- Veloz Bonilla stopped the clock in 1:52.67 in the 800, outdoing his previous indoor PR of 1:54.59 that occurred at last year’s MVC Indoor Championships. His previous time ranked second in program history, and this performance allowed him to usurp Alexander Bruno’s 2020 time of 1:52.93 for the fastest in program lore. He won the race in a 15-competitor field.
- Valpo’s other champion came in the men’s pole vault, where Tristan Malatlian turned in a mark of 4.51m (14-9.50) to top the field.
- Freshman Isabella Smith (Chesterton, Ind. / Chesterton) led the team in the 300 with a time of 44.41 seconds, making her way into the program record book in the process. Her time represented the second-fastest indoor 300 in program history and fastest since Karie Dahlgren’s program record of 42.56 seconds in 1997. Kai Dilosa posted the third-fastest 300 time in program history at 44.58 to place sixth, while Rhena Kiger also cracked the top five in program history at 45.29 seconds.
- Freshman Anthony Vassolo (Tinley Park, Ill. / Andrew) placed fourth in the men’s 300 at 36.53, a time that ranks fifth in program history and is the program’s best indoor 300 since 1982.
- In the jumps, freshman Micah Mullings (Minesing, Ontario, Canada / Barrie North) had a big day, turning in a pair of top-six finishes. His personal best of 1.92m (6-3.5) helped him place third in the men’s high jump, while his long jump of 6.58m (21-7.25) was sixth in the field.
- In the women’s pole vault, freshman Kiger cleared 3.06 meters (10-0.5) to place fifth.
- The men’s weight throw saw a trio of Beacons finish in the top 10 with Jeremiah Johnson (Zion, Ill. / Benton) leading the way at 15.56m (51-0.75) to place seventh, followed closely by Will Rinker (Valparaiso, Ind. / Chesterton) at 14.82 (48-7.5, eighth) and Joe Irons at 14.09 (46-2.75, ninth).
- On the women’s side, Valpo also had multiple top-10 performances in the weight throw. Tori Gerhardt (Westville, Ind. / Chesterton) was eighth at 14.81m (48-7.25, eighth) and was closely followed by Lena Luebberg (Heyworth, Ill. / Heyworth) at 14.36m (47-1.5, ninth).
- Elsewhere in the women’s throws, freshman Amelia Tandy (New Albany, Ind. / New Albany) uncorked a shot put heave of 10.03m (32-11) to finish eighth.
- Valpo’s top performer in the men’s shot put was Josh Leathers (Streamwood, Ill. / Streamwood), who finished fifth at 12.63m (41-5.25). He was followed closely by Jeremiah Johnson (Zion, Ill. / Benton) at 12.55m (41-2.25) to finish sixth.
- In the sprints and hurdles, Lukas Sepulveda (Camano Island, Wash. / Stanwood) finished 14th in the men’s 60-meter prelims with a time of 7.20, narrowly behind his personal record of 7.19. Nathan Wessel (Hartland, Wis. / Lake County Lutheran) clocked a 7.40 in that same race, shattering his previous PR of 7.42 at the 2021 Blue & Gold Invitational.
- The women’s 60 hurdles prelims saw Kiger 16th in the prelims with a time of 10.16. In the women’s 60, it was Marion Isaac (Evergreen Park, Ill. / Evergreen Park) leading the team with a time of 8.37 that ranked 21st in the prelims.
- In the distance, Alex Valerio (Rockford, Ill. / Boylan Catholic) paced the team in the men’s mile, placing 28th at 4:39.24.
- Marek Potuznik (Hoffman Estates, Ill. / Fremd) finished the 1,000 in 2:45.39 to place fifth.
- In the women’s 3000, the first Beacon to cross the finish line was Maranda Donahue (Delton, Mich. / Delton Kellogg) at 10:36.7. That represented her personal best in that event.
The Beacons will head to Grand Valley State’s Bill Clinger Classic on Jan. 27-28 in Allendale, Mich. A link to live video via FloSports is available on ValpoAthletics.com.