The Valparaiso University track and field teams will split their talents this weekend, sending some athletes to the Hillsdale College Relays in Hillsdale, Mich. while the rest compete at the Lenny Lyles/Clark Wood Invitational at the University of Louisville in Louisville, Ky. The teams’ first day of action this weekend was highlighted by sophomore thrower Lauren Mikolaijczak (Bloomingdale, Ill./Montini Catholic) and senior jumper Malik Riley (Romeoville, Ill./Romeoville), each of whom set career bests.
How It Happened - Louisville
- Mikolaijczak finished 10th in the women’s hammer throw. Her mark of 151-2 (46.08m) set a new career high in the event and obliterated her previous best by almost eight feet (143-7). Mikolaijczak nearly added a second PR, hitting 35-7¼ (10.85m) in the shot put, a mere inch behind her career best mark of 35-8½. Riley hit a huge personal best in the long jump, finishing fifth with a mark of 22-3¾ (6.80m).
- For his part, T.J. Weinzimmer (Northbrook, Ill./Glenbrook North) set a new outdoor best in the long jump with a mark of 21-2 (6.45m). Shannon Lahey (Dixon, Ill./Dixon) also joined in on the jumping fun with a new outdoor PR of her own and a distance of 16-8¾ (5.10m).
- Jack Mader (Granger, Ind./Penn) ran the 5000 for the first time this outdoor season, placing eighth with a time of 15:07.47.
- Three throwers set new career bests in the men’s hammer throw for Valpo. They were led by Jake Rasawehr (Celina, Ohio/Celina), who finished eighth with a mark of 150-8 (45.92m). Eddie Juszczak (Lowell, Ind./Lowell)- 138-7 (42.24m) and Alek Trafton (Lockport, Ill./Lockport)- 134-1 (40.88m) rounded out the men’s marks.
- Maria Greer (Chicago, Ill./Williams Medical Prep) set a PR in the women’s hammer throw- her distance of 127-11 (39.00m) marks an improvement of over four feet from her old watermark(123-6). Freshman Michelle Pierce (Indianapolis, Ind./Heritage Christian) finished out a successful day for the Valpo throwers with an outdoor-PR in the shot put and a mark of 33-11¼ (10.34m).
- Aaron Clark Jr. (South Holland, Ill./Thornwood) paced his squad in the 100 with a season-best time of 11.59. Freshman Brian Hughes (Orland Park, Ill./Carl Sandburg) finished at 11.87. Aaliyah Strickland (Chicago, Ill./Westinghouse College Prep) led the Valpo women in the event with a time of 13.27, while freshman Taylor Smith (Crown Point, Ind./Columbus East) set a career-best with a time of 13.69.
How It Happened- Hillsdale
- Julia Rustmann (Grosse Pointe, Mich./Grosse Pointe North (Michigan State) finished 15th in a large 84-runner field in the women’s 800-meter run at Hillside, coming across the line at 2:21.92.
- Tim Zange (Robins, La./Kennedy) led Valpo in the 3000-meter steeplechase, finishing at 10:19.4,1 while freshman Brady Southern (Fishers, Ind./Hamilton Southeastern) etched a new personal best with a time of 10:32.94.
- Dominic Paoletti (Monroe, Mich./Monroe St. Mary) and Katherine Germann (Cincinnati, Ohio/Finneytown) each ran their first 10K on the track. Paoletti came in at 31:05.96 and finished ninth, while Germann recorded a time of 37:58.07 and placed sixth.
Inside the Meet
- Valpo finished the day with 13 personal-bests, five of which were set by throwers. Valpo also enjoyed six top-10 finishes on the day.
- The pole vault, javelin and discuss throw events were moved to Saturday to accommodate windy weather in Louisville.
Thoughts from Head Coach Ryan Moore:
“It was a solid day down in Louisville from the throwers. Lauren [Mikolaijczak] is getting closer to what we hoped she would be ready for at conference, and Maria had another PR today after a hard week of practice.”
“Alek Trafton is to be commended for his hard work, and it’s finally paying off as a freshman. Eddie [Juszczak] also impressed me today.”
“We are excited to see what we get done down here the rest of the weekend.”
Valpo will pick back up on Saturday with Day 2 of both meets as the athletes continue to gear up for the championship push.