A pair of freshmen, Sarah Drozdowski (Roselle, Ill./Lake Park) and Nicole Zehel (Wixom, Mich./Lutheran Westland), registered top-five finishes on Saturday as the Valparaiso women's track and field team competed on the second of three days of action at the 2011 Horizon League Outdoor Championships in Indianapolis, Ind.
Drozdowski posted the best overall finish for the Crusaders on the day, placing fourth in the hammer throw with a distance of 153'11”. The toss improved on her PR, and likewise her fourth-best mark in Crusader history, in the event in a Valpo uniform. Elsewhere on the infield, freshman Kelley Freeman (Valparaiso, Ind./Chesterton) registered a tenth-place showing in the pole vault, clearing 10'2”, while fifth-year senior Val Bollenbacher (Bremen, Ind./Bremen), competing in the event for the first time on the collegiate level, finished 13th in the javelin throw, outdistancing five fellow competitors.
Zehel led the way for the Crusaders out on the track, running to a fifth-place finish in the 3,000m steeplechase. The freshman crossed the line in 11:44.69, just over 10 seconds outside of Valpo's all-time top-five in the event. Zehel was one of three Valpo runners to place in the top-11 in the steeplechase, as freshman Grace Shemwell (Clinton, Iowa/Clinton) finished seventh with a PR of 11:58.24, while fellow rookie Grace Watkins (Hanover Park, Ill./Hoffman Estates) completed the circuit in 12:19.30, good for 11th place.
Also on the track on Saturday, senior Jorie Ballun (Oswego, Ill./Oswego) ran to PRs in both hurdling events, placing ninth in the preliminaries in the 400m hurdles with a time of 1:10.18 and 13th in the 100m hurdles with a time of 17.32, but failed to qualify for the finals in either event. Also pacing the Crusaders, but not qualifying for Sunday's event finals, were freshman Claire Johnson (Eden Prairie, Minn./Eden Prairie), who ranked ninth in the prelims of the 800m run with a PR of 2:19.49, and redshirt sophomore Laura Harness, who placed 19th in the preliminaries of the 200m dash.
Valparaiso enters the final day of competition in seventh place out of the eight competing teams, having tallied six points through the meet's first two days. Sunday's action starts at 10 a.m. CDT.