By Frank Canady
When I was a sophomore in high school, I came to one of Coach Will’s distance running summits. One of the people I heard speak was Dr. Joe Vigil, arguably the greatest distance coach of all time. One of the things he talked about was perfect scoring the Division II National Championships. Even twenty years later, he called it a “special moment in time.” That was how I felt Saturday at our own Midwest Conference Championships in Grinnell.
First, I watched Sarah Burnell successfully defend her title, which helped the Grinnell women’s team win the title in an exciting team battle. I found Sarah’s performance to be inspiring because as she ran a lot of the race with a pack, then dominated the last 800 meters to win convincingly. I, too, was trying to defend my title, so I knew just how much pressure was on her to perform well.
For me, it was a nice race, not a PR, but solid considering the windy conditions. We ended up with 7 in the top 13 and 8 All-Conference runners, as good as any other Conference meet during my four years at Grinnell. Evan Griffith ran a wonderful race, something a long time coming for him. He deserved to run well. Ben Tyler, Sam Krauth, and I all received All-Conference honors, which makes us All-Conference every year we have been here. I started with these guys and it shows our consistency over the years.
But aside from either individual or team titles, what really made it a special moment in time for me came at the end of the awards ceremony when they announced Coaches of the Year. Both Will and Ev got it, and I couldn’t have been happier. I know how much work they put into this program because I have lived it for four years. I’ve seen this team at its best in 2010 when we won the Regional Championship and at its worst a year later when we lost the Conference title for the first time in years. I’ve been at my best like last year when I won Conference and at my worst when I went into Coach’s office during track, determined to quit because I wasn’t happy with my times (fortunately Coach talked me out of it). It was a truly fitting award for Will and Ev because even when times are tough, they were always there for everyone on the team, whether cross or track. The award was truly fitting because this is the last time either will coach a Conference at home, and it was this that made the “special moment in time.”
Winning their 26th team title of the last 28 years, the Roos did it in front of over 140 alumni runners who returned for a special reunion weekend! Grinnell wins with 35 points, over Lawrence University (58), St. Norbert (89), Carroll (97) and 7 others schools.
Senior captain Frank Canady defended his individual title with a huge win, running 26:23 on the windy day. He was followed by junior Evan Griffith (6th), seniors Ben Tyler and Sam Krauth (8th,9th), soph. Nate Kolacia (11th), junior Zack Angel (12th) and soph. Adam Dalton in 13th. Freshman Tony McLean finished 8th for Grinnell, and joined the other 7 on the All-Conference squad. Grinnell had 7 of the top 13 runners! A wonderful weekend all the way around! Great performances, great weather, great people! Ten runners keep training for the NCAA aregionals in two weeks!
The women had an amazing race and won the team by a single point,. Grinnell’s own Sarah Burnell repeated as the individual winner.
What a day for Grinnell!!!
Link to Men’s results:
Link to Women’s results:
Link to Pictures (thanks to John and Laurie Canady!!):
Updated Team Stats after the MWC meet:
|RUNNER||LES DUKE||AUGY||WARTBURG||LA CROSSE||MWC|
Just 48 hrs. to the MWC races, and just 34 hrs. to the big reunion dinner in Quad. Lots of excitement in the air!
I thought it would be nice to let everyone know what it takes to host a championship meet:
We’ve been doing these big meets for a lot of years, and take a lot of pride in them. CC is a sport where the athletes often don’t get the appreciation they deserve. This is one way to show the runners that their sport is special! With chips now the norm for big races, we bring in an outside group to do the finish line. Long gone are the old days of 3 chutes and concern that we wouldn’t screw it up. No chute at all. The hit the finish line and walk off. Pretty slick!
Things have changed a lot in how the meet is run off. What hasn’t changed is the people involved. We still have wonderful help from FM, a great course that supports our meets, and of course, runners who give their best when they are at Oakland. What a great sport! CC at Oakland Acres makes up proud!
We currently have 121 returning runners thus far signed up for the weekend! Wow! They are coming in from all over the country and we look forward to seeing everyone at the Fri night dinner in Quad!
Many of you saw our kids grow up over the years, some of you even babysitting them. All three will be at the dinner, along with Roger Bauman, Ron Cooper, Greg Wallace, and other special guests!
Be safe everyone, and we look forward to seeing you Fri. night at 7:00pm!
The forecast looks great for Fri-Sat, 55d and sunny…perfect CC weather!
Be safe getting here, everyone!
I am willing to admit that not so long ago I was intimidated by the men’s team. As a first-year, I actively avoided interacting with male team members at practice, in the d-hall, at the library – everywhere. I practically dreaded going to the Slum and never dreamed of entering that place without my posse of women. I will never forget the time at dinner I received a scolding lecture on the correct pronunciation of the men’s team mascot (with an emphasis on the silent ‘kanga’) and the falsified captains’ award the guys gave me that year still makes my cheeks flush. Sure, I was awkward, but the men’s team was legitimately intimidating – a big group of tight-knit guys with facial hair, dashing around in their crisp, matching practice gear every day. They were rumored to have perfect-scored at the conference meet in the past (who does that?) and had the egos to match that claim. When not running they spent a lot of time in, well, the Slum… doing… various things that happen in the Slum.
Three years later (with the acquisition of basic social skills on my part and simply more interaction with the men’s team) the intimidation has completely dissipated, but my respect remains. In the past few seasons I think the women’s team has learned a lot about how to take ourselves seriously as competitors from the men’s team. In return, I think we’ve taught the men the importance of doing the little things, listening to your body, and dealing with adverse conditions. I no longer see the Slum as a scary threat, but rather as a unique, endearing time capsule. Today even beyond the running realm, some of my best friends are on the men’s team. This friendly (and sometimes even more-than-friendly) camradery between men’s and women’s cross country is nothing new, which I assume will be evident at the reunion this weekend.
In my time at Grinnell, both the women and the men have taken home the conference title, but our victories have yet to coincide. Please know that on Saturday the Beasts will race for personal and team success, but also for the success of this program; this entire family.
Good luck Roos!