Malatlian Cracks Program Record Book in Pole Vault, Wins Event at GVSU
Friday, January 28, 2022
Malatlian Cracks Program Record Book in Pole Vault, Wins Event at GVSU

Tristan Malatlian (Pfafftown, N.C. / Reagan) delivered the finest performance of the day to highlight a showing that saw numerous Valparaiso University track & field athletes exhibit progress and establish personal bests at the Bill Clinger Classic, hosted by Grand Valley State in Allendale, Mich. on Friday.

How It Happened

  • Malatlian continued his successful start to the indoor season by posting a 4.80m (15-9). He won the event thanks to the second-best indoor pole vault in program history behind only Justin Zosso’s 2015 record of 16-2.75. He outdid Alexander Watson’s 2018 mark of 15-7.25 that previously ranked second in indoor program lore.
  • Mackenzie Patten (Highland, Mich. / Milford) and Tori Gerhardt (Westville, Ind. / Chesterton) finished sixth and eighth respectively in the women’s weight throw. Patten turned in a PR of 14.84m (48-8.25), while Gerhardt was close behind with a 14.45m (47-5), again a personal best as she has improved in that event in each of the four meets this season.
  • In the men’s weight throw, Eddie Juszczak (Lowell, Ind. / Lowell) and Alek Trafton (Lockport, Ill. / Lockport) placed sixth and seventh, respectively. Juszczak’s throw covered 16.81m (15-2), while Trafton heaved 15.33m (50-3.5).
  • Elsewhere in the men’s throws, Jeremiah Johnson (Zion, Ill. / Benton) continued to inch closer to a PR in the shot put. His toss of 13.30m (43-7.75) marked a significant improvement from last week. During the 2021 campaign, he topped out at 13.86m.
  • A large portion of the Valpo distance runners enjoyed personal bests in their respective events. One standout was Ignacio Veloz Bonilla (San Juan, P.R. / American Military Academy), whose 1:56.2 in the 800 helped him place 11th of 42. He set an indoor PR in that race.  
  • Sophomore Grace Aurand (Highland, Ind. / Highland) placed fifth of 31 in the one-mile run at 5:13.11, the top time of her career. She also topped the team in the 800 at 2:24.74.
  • Another standout distance performance came courtesy of Ellie Roeglin (Delafield, Wis. / Lake County Lutheran) in the women’s 3,000. Her time of 11:15.46 blew past her previous best of 11:27.42.
  • In the men’s mile, Evan Walda (Fort Wayne, Ind. / South Side) finished in 4:18.76 to establish a PR while earning a top-10 finish by crossing the finish line nine of 34.

Thoughts from Head Coach Ryan Moore

“Tristan has been fantastic in the pole vault over the last couple weeks. He’s a guy who continues to improve. Every day, (Associate Head Coach) James (Overbo) comes over to me and says, ‘This is unbelievable.’ His progression to get to the height he reached today was incredible to watch. It took a lot of energy for him to eventually reach that impressive mark. If he keeps progressing like he has been, he’s a kid who’s going to be scaring a lot of people when it comes time for the conference championship.”  

“We had some kids step up today who were willing to compete in nontraditional events for them in order to help the team. Alaina Carpenter, Danielle Durak and Jasmine Collins all stepped up for us in that way. I think it’s a testament to the fact that they are invested in the team and they care about us. I’m thankful for their willingness to go the extra mile.”  

“Gerhardt and Patten are improving from week to week. When we see clusters of marks in the same range over a few week period, that’s usually a good sign for things to come. Going into next week, they have the ability to take another step forward. We compete Friday at Notre Dame and Saturday in Chicago, and for some reason this always seems to be a weekend where things sync up well for us and we have some huge performances. Some big marks are on the horizon as both of them inch closer and closer to 15 meters.”

“I was impressed with Alek digging deep trying to find what it’s going to take to get to that next level as far as distance goes with the weight throw and Eddie is in that same wheelhouse. Jeremiah Johnson is inching closer to a PR in the shot and putting together some nice things in the weight as well.”

“Ignacio put together a decent race after coming off some time away and not being able to train like he’d want. We’ll see him continue to progress as we get closer to the championship. It was nice to see Ellie have a great race as she’s continued to build throughout the year. I’m looking forward to seeing everyone continue to progress as we return to action next week.”

Up Next

Valpo will be represented at the Meyo Invitational, hosted at Notre Dame on Friday, Feb. 4 and February, Feb. 5. In addition, there will be Beacons competing at the Windy City Rumble in Chicago on Saturday, Feb. 5.