The Valparaiso University men’s and women’s cross country teams traveled to Notre Dame for the Joe Piane Invitational on Friday. The men’s team ran a five-mile race, while the women’s team competed in a 5K race. The top three finishers on the men’s team, Alexander Bruno (Bloomington, Ill./ University), Ignacio Veloz Bonilla (San Juan, P.R./ American Military Academy) and Dominic Paoletti (Monroe, Mich./ Monroe St. Mary) all set personal bests in the race and finished in the top third of their race.
How It Happened
- Bruno led the men’s squad with a career-best time of 25:08.53 in the five-mile race, earning him a 34th-place finish in the large field of 159 runners. Veloz Bonilla came across at 25:15.95 and in 40th place, while Paoletti finished right on the heels of his teammate, crossing the line at 25:16.72 and in 41st place.
- Along with Veloz Bonilla and Paoletti, redshirt sophomore Jack Worman (Hanover Parks, Ill./ Hoffman Estates) outpaced his 8K time on the slightly-longer five-mile course, finishing fourth on the team with a time of 25:36.61.
- Eric Carothers (Fishers, Ind./ Hamilton Southeastern), who continued the strong start to his freshman campaign with a 26:39.47 finish, was Valpo’s fifth and final scorer in the men’s race and helped the men’s team to a 12th-place finish out of 20 teams.
- Katherine Germann (Cincinnati, Ohio/ Finneytown) led the women’s team with her top time of the season at 18:40.32.
- Sophomore Alaina Carpenter (Grandville, Mich./ Grandville), senior Taylor Justison (Catham, Ill./ Glenwood) and freshman Sarah Padilla (Grand Ledge, Mich./ Grand Ledge) all made huge gains on their personal-best times. Carpenter (19:10.42) cut 29 seconds off her PR, while Justison (19:24.62) improved by 28 seconds and Padilla (22:08.36) by 23 seconds.
- Claire Kovarik (Downers Grove, Ill./ Downers Grove North), Danielle Durak (Joliet, Ill./ Joliet West) and Peyton Nash (Willowbrook, Ill./ Westmont) all set PRs.
Thoughts from Head Coach Mike Straubel
“The men got out really well and were racing the people we want to race. We just had a couple runners fall off, but we will keep getting out and we will hold it better in the races to come. Freshman Eric Carothers had a big PR and helped out for the guys who fell off.”
“For the women, we had PRs from Alaina Carpenter and Taylor Justison. Alaina is improving rapidly. Also, Katherine Germann got back to running below 19:00. I think she will get faster in the remaining races.”
“We were really happy to beat some old conference foes in Youngstown State and Green Bay. We still haven't fired on all cylinders, but we are getting closer and building toward the conference meet.”
Valpo will head to Peoria, Ill. on Oct. 18 for the Bradley Pink Classic. It’s the program’s last meet before the MVC Championships.