Led by the effort of freshman Trace Ostergren (LaPorte, Ind./Culver Academy), the Valparaiso men's cross country team ran to a ninth-place finish Saturday at the Evansville Invitational in Evansville, Ind.
The Crusaders tallied 252 total points for their ninth-place finish on Saturday. Southern Illinois earned the team title with 26 total points, while Marshall's Matt Schiffbauer earned individual top honors.
Ostergren paced the Valpo contingent for the first time in his brief Crusader career, out-running his previous collegiate best 8K time by over a minute. The freshman crossed the finish line in 27:25.10, good for a 50th-place finish. Fellow freshman Eric Hickok (Schererville, Ind./Lake Central) also ran a collegiate-best time on Saturday, coming home in 55th place with a time of 27:36.21.
Junior Wally Bradford (Mukwonago, Wis./Mukwonago) was the third Crusader to cross the line Saturday, posting a time of 27:40.21 to finish in 61st position. Sophomore Kiefer Heiman (Nashville, Ill./Nashville) contributed to Valpo's team score for the second straight meet while also running a career-best time, placing 65th with a time of 27:46.79. Freshman David Rutkowski (Cedarburg, Wis./Living Word Christian) rounded out a group of four underclassmen among the Crusaders' top-five runners, completing the circuit in 28:15.14 in his first career race, placing 73rd.
Valparaiso now prepares for the Horizon League Championships, to be contested in two weekends. The league championship meet will take place in Cleveland, Ohio on Saturday, Oct. 29, with the men's 8K slated for a 10 a.m. CDT start.