Official Athletic Site of the Valparaiso University Crusaders
Crusader Women Set For 2011 Campaign
Nicole Zehel and the Crusaders open the season this weekend at home. (Ray Acevedo)
Nicole Zehel and the Crusaders open the season this weekend at home. (Ray Acevedo)

Thursday, September 01, 2011

A small and youthful squad will take to the cross country trails this year, as the Valparaiso women’s cross country team prepares for the start of the 2011 season this weekend.

The Crusaders feature just seven runners this year, while no seniors are on the roster.  Junior Haley Kerlin is the veteran presence on the 2011 roster, while she is joined by a quartet of sophomores entering their second years with the program.  A pair of freshmen also joins the Valpo squad for the 2011 campaign.

Kerlin is back for her third season with the Crusaders in 2011, having made giant strides forward during her sophomore season.  After running among Valpo’s top-five runners just once as a freshman, Kerlin contributed to the Crusaders’ team score in five out of six meets in 2010.  She also slashed over a minute off of her career-best 5K time, posting a season-best time of 20:00.97 at last year’s Crusader Open.

Among Valpo’s four sophomores is a pair of runners who were among the Crusaders’ top-five runners in all six races as freshmen.  Claire Johnson lowered her 5K time consistently over the course of the season, eventually running a season-best 19:13.97 at the Horizon League Championships, where she paced the Valpo contingent and finished in 23rd place overall.  Johnson also led the Crusaders’ runners at the Notre Dame Invitational.  Meanwhile, Nicole Zehel also ran among Valpo’s top-five in all six meets, including a team-best 14th place effort at the Evansville Invitational.  Zehel also ran a season-best time that day at Evansville, covering the 5K course in 19:09.71.

Grace Shemwell competed in four races as a freshman, missing the middle two meets.  She placed among Valpo’s top-five twice, including a team-best time of 19:17.84 at the Crusader Open, good for 12th place.  Shemwell also contributed to Valpo’s team score at the NCAA Great Lakes Regional.  Grace Watkins ran at all six meets for the Crusaders as a rookie, improving over the course of the season.  Watkins sliced over three minutes off her 5K time from the start of the season to the Evansville Invitational, where she ran a season-best time of 21:06.83.  Freshmen Eileen Carmignani and Jessica Richardson join the Crusaders for 2011 as well.

The 2011 schedule consists of four races leading into the Horizon League Championships.  The Crusader Open will be contested for the 23rd time in 2011, and for the 18th straight year it will serve as Valpo’s season-opening meet.  Action at Sunset Hills Farm on Friday begins at 5 p.m. with the women’s race, set for five kilometers, while the men’s 6K will follow at 5:45 p.m.

Two weeks later, Valpo will travel outside of Indiana for the only time in the regular season, heading to the United States Naval Academy to compete in the Navy Invitational on Sept. 17.  On Sept. 30, a brief jaunt to the east is in the cards as the Crusaders will run at the Notre Dame Invitational, while Valpo’s final tuneup comes on Oct. 15 as it travels downstate to cover the course at the Evansville Invitational.

With four races under their belts, the Crusaders will aim to be peaking for the 2011 Horizon League Championships, hosted this year by Cleveland State University and scheduled for Saturday, Oct. 29.  The NCAA Great Lakes Regional is slated to be run Saturday, Nov. 12 in Toledo, Ohio.

W Golf IPFW Spring Invitational Fort Wayne, Ind. (Chestnut Hills G.C.)
Apr 6 4th/12 (311)
W Tennis Valpo 0 Milwaukee, Wis.
Apr 6 Milwaukee 7
Softball Detroit 0 VU Softball Field
Apr 6 Valpo 8
Baseball Wright State 4 Emory G. Bauer Field
Apr 6 Valpo 2
W Golf IPFW Spring Invitational Fort Wayne, Ind. (Chestnut Hills G.C.)
Apr 7 9th/12 (642)
Softball Northern Illinois 6 VU Softball Field
Apr 8 Valpo 8
Baseball Valpo 5 Evanston, Ill.
Apr 8 Northwestern 12
Softball Northern Illinois 3 8 inn.
Apr 8 Valpo 4
M Track Chicagoland Championships Romeoville, Ill.
Apr 11 5th/17 (20)
W Track Chicagoland Championships Romeoville, Ill.
Apr 11 9th/18 (12)
M Tennis Valpo 5 Detroit, Mich.
Apr 11 Detroit 2
Baseball Youngstown State 7 Emory G. Bauer Field
Apr 11 Valpo 10
W Track Chicagoland Championships Romeoville, Ill.
Apr 12 6th/20 (60.50)
M Track Chicagoland Championships Romeoville, Ill.
Apr 12 6th/20 (48)
M Golf Bluegrass Invitational Lexington, Ky. (University Club Big Blue Course)
Apr 12 t-7th/13 (588)
W Golf Crusader/Jaguar Challenge Valparaiso, Ind. (The Course at Aberdeen)
Apr 12 3rd/6 (335); 4th/6 (350)
M Soccer St. Joseph's College Eastgate Field
Apr 12, 10:00 a.m. Valpo
Baseball Youngstown State 1 Emory G. Bauer Field
Apr 12, 10:00 a.m. Valpo 13
Softball Cleveland State 3 VU Softball Field
Apr 12, 10:00 a.m. Valpo 2
Volleyball Western Michigan/Butler/Eastern Michigan ARC
Apr 12, 1:45 p.m. Valpo
Softball Cleveland State 4 VU Softball Field
Apr 12, 1:45 p.m. Valpo 6
Baseball Youngstown State 12 Emory G. Bauer Field
Apr 12, 1:45 p.m. Valpo 4
W Tennis Valpo 1 Detroit, Mich.
Apr 12, 1:45 p.m. Detroit 6
M Soccer Benedictine Brown Field
Apr 12, 4:00 p.m. Valpo
W Soccer Haitian National Team Brown Field
Apr 12, 7:00 p.m. Valpo
W Golf Crusader/Jaguar Challenge Valparaiso, Ind. (The Course at Aberdeen)
Apr 13 2nd/6 (657); 5th/6 (692)
M Golf Bluegrass Invitational Lexington, Ky. (University Club Big Blue Course)
Apr 13 t-6th/13 (895)
Softball Cleveland State 6 8 inn.
Apr 13 Valpo 7
W Tennis Valpo 1 Rochester, Mich.
Apr 13 Oakland 6
M Tennis Valpo 1 Notre Dame, Ind.
Apr 13 #12 Notre Dame 6
W Tennis Valpo 0 Chicago, Ill.
Apr 14 Chicago State 7
M Tennis Valpo 7 Homewood, Ill.
Apr 15 Chicago State 0
Baseball Valpo CCD
Apr 15 Toledo
Baseball Valpo Milwaukee, Wis.
Apr 17, 3:00 p.m. Milwaukee
M Tennis Youngstown State Valpo Tennis Complex
Apr 18, 11:00 a.m. Valpo
Baseball Valpo Milwaukee, Wis.
Apr 18, 3:00 p.m. Milwaukee
Softball Oakland VU Softball Field
Apr 18, 3:00 p.m. Valpo
W Tennis Youngstown State Valpo Tennis Complex
Apr 18, 4:00 p.m. Valpo
M Golf Wolfpack Spring Open Raleigh, N.C. (Lonnie Poole Golf Course)
Apr 19
W Tennis Cleveland State Valpo Tennis Complex
Apr 19 Valpo
M Track DePaul Invitational Chicago, Ill.
Apr 19
W Track DePaul Invitational Chicago, Ill.
Apr 19
Softball Oakland VU Softball Field
Apr 19, 12:00 p.m. Valpo
Baseball Valpo Milwaukee, Wis.
Apr 19, 1:00 p.m. Milwaukee
Softball Oakland VU Softball Field
Apr 19, 2:00 p.m. Valpo
M Tennis Cleveland State Valpo Tennis Complex
Apr 19, 2:00 p.m. Valpo
M Golf Wolfpack Spring Open Raleigh, N.C. (Lonnie Poole Golf Course)
Apr 20
Baseball Kalamazoo Emory G. Bauer Field
Apr 21, 3:00 p.m. Valpo
Baseball Ohio Northern Emory G. Bauer Field
Apr 22, 3:00 p.m. Valpo
Softball Valpo Macomb, Ill.
Apr 22, 3:00 p.m. Western Illinois
Softball Valpo Macomb, Ill.
Apr 22, 5:00 p.m. Western Illinois
Softball Valpo Notre Dame, Ind.
Apr 24, 5:00 p.m. Notre Dame
M Tennis Valpo Ann Arbor, Mich.
Apr 25, 5:00 p.m. Horizon League Tournament
W Track Miami (Ohio) Invitational Oxford, Ohio
Apr 25
M Track Miami (Ohio) Invitational Oxford, Ohio
Apr 25
M Golf Horizon League Championship Howey in the Hills, Fla. (Mission Inn Resort & Club)
Apr 25
W Golf Horizon League Championship Howey in the Hills, Fla. (Mission Inn Resort & Club)
Apr 25
Baseball UIC Emory G. Bauer Field
Apr 25, 3:00 p.m. Valpo
M Track Miami (Ohio) Invitational Oxford, Ohio
Apr 26
W Track Miami (Ohio) Invitational Oxford, Ohio
Apr 26
M Tennis Valpo Ann Arbor, Mich.
Apr 26 Horizon League Tournament
W Golf Horizon League Championship Howey in the Hills, Fla. (Mission Inn Resort & Club)
Apr 26
M Golf Horizon League Championship Howey in the Hills, Fla. (Mission Inn Resort & Club)
Apr 26
Baseball UIC Emory G. Bauer Field
Apr 26, 12:00 p.m. Valpo
Softball Valpo Dayton, Ohio
Apr 26, 12:00 p.m. Wright State
Softball Valpo Dayton, Ohio
Apr 26, 2:00 p.m. Wright State