Student athletes and fans gathered to honor the North Central College men’s track and field and cross country teams. Together they accomplished a rare feat that began last fall.
“To watch those cross country runners win that first national championship, they broke the ice. They stormed the beaches,” said senior pole vaulter, Jake Winder.
Charging forward, they ran past everyone winning by a record margin. At the indoor track and field meet they once again flew by the competition.
Late last month in Berea, Ohio they opened the first day with 41 points. The cardinals fought through the weekend, completing the trifecta of national championships.
“Boy did they do it this time. Three national championships in cross country, indoor track and outdoor track. Spectacular,” said North Central President, Dr. Hal Wilde.
It’s the 20th national title for teams under Head Coach Al Carius, but this is a first for him.
“It’s very special. Don’t ask me what it feels like because I’ve never felt this before, but it feels pretty great right now,” Carius said.
North Central is only one of two schools to accomplish the feat and for the athletes, the feeling is still sinking in.
“I don’t think our heads have really wrapped around the magnitude of it yet,” said Winder. ” Later on in life, I’ll tell my children about this team and what we did together.”
Senior distance runner Kyle Brady never could have imagined the outcome.
“Going in here freshman year I didn’t think we could do anything like that, but I guess working hard that long pays off when you have a dedicated group of guys,” Brady said.
The closeness between the athletes and coaches has made the program a tight knit group.
“When you say the word team, for some people its a word and we want it to be a feeling. This is an invisible bond that will hold this group of young men, and our staff and our school together for a lifetime,” Carius said.
Being a strong team is far better than being a strong individual.
If you’re a big team and you bring it together, amazing things can happen. You know you’d do anything for the person sitting next to you and they’d do the same. That’s what success is,” Brady said.
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