In the last meet before the conference championships, the Valparaiso University track & field teams returned to Grand Valley State University on Friday. Ben Sekuloski (Lowell, Ind./Lowell) and Jack Mader (Granger, Ind./Penn) were among the standout performers for the men, each setting season bests and earning first-place finishes. Sydney Bronner (Frankenmuth, Mich./Frankenmuth) and Sierra Fischer (Brookfield, Wis./Brookfield (Carroll) led the women’s team by each notching second-place showings.
How It Happened
- In just her second career competition, Bronner continued her success in the high jump. She finished second in the event, clearing 5-3 (1.60m) and extending her lead for Valpo’s third-best mark in program history. Fischer ran a 1:00.09 in the 400-meter dash, beating her personal best and setting a season-best mark for the team. She took second by a hair, with the winner from Grand Valley crossing the line at 1:00.08.
- Sekuloski ran a 49.65 in the 400-meter dash, taking home first place in the process, while Mader took first in the 3000-meter run, coming across at 8:31.41.
- Teammate Dominic Paoletti (Monroe, Mich./Monroe St. Mary) also ran in the men’s 3000, finishing third with a time of 8:33.41. In all, Valpo athletes accounted for four of the top seven finishers in the race.
- Alongside Sekuloski, two other runners set season bests in the 400. Emanuel Daggett (Hammond, Ind./Gavit) ran a personal-best 51.07 and Bryce Otterbach (Mendota, Ill./Mendota Township) finished in 51.40.
- Taylor Allen (Zionsville, Ind./Zionsville) earned a third-place finish in the 200-meter dash, running it in 22.84. The result is the team’s best of the season, and nearly topped Allen’s career best (22.81). He also ran in the 60-meter dash with a time of 7.35, good for ninth place.
- Connor Hickey (Peru, Ill./LaSalle-Peru) finished third in the mile, setting a personal best with a time of 4:18.19. Joey Black (O’Fallon, Ill./O’Fallon) was close behind, finishing in seventh at 4:19.86.
- Junior distance runner Katherine Germann (Cincinnati, Ohio/Finneytown) took home third in the 3000-meter run, finishing at 10:28.43. The time marks a personal best and is the fastest time for the team this season.
- Senior Malik Riley (Romeoville, Ill./Romeoville) landed a fourth-place finish in the long jump. His mark of 22-0½ (6.72m) is a new personal best.
- Shannon Lahey (Dixon, Ill./Dixon) broke her personal best in the long jump, landing a 17-0¾ (5.20m). She now owns the team’s best mark of the season.
- Jake Rasawehr (Celina, Ohio/Celina) set a personal best in the weight throw with a mark of 52-10½ (16.12m).
- Taylor Justison (Catham, Ill./Glenwood) broke a personal record in the 800-meter run as her time of 2:24.53 topped her previous best by over four seconds.
- Senior transfer Julia Rustmann (Grosse Pointe, Mich./Grosse Pointe North (Michigan State) made her Valpo debut, competing alongside Justison in the 800-meter run and finishing in 2:25.35. Miranda Donahue (Delton, Mich./ Delton-Kellogg) also ran in the race, finishing at 2:30.84 to become the third Valpo athlete of the day to set a season best in the 800.
Inside the Meet
- Overall, the men’s team set 21 individual season bests, while the women’s team established 16.
- The squads combined for two first-place, two second-place and four third-place finishes.
Thoughts from Head Coach Ryan Moore
“This is the type of meet we always look for leading into conference. Marks like this mean that great things are on the way for this group.”
“I expect us to be at our best next week and am looking forward to our indoor conference championships. I can’t wait to see who will rise to the occasion when they are called on to make a difference for us. Who’s going to #MakeYourMark and give #WhateverItTakes?”
Valpo will conclude the indoor season at the Missouri Valley Conference Indoor Championships, hosted by UNI, on Feb. 23-24.