It's time to run over leaf-covered trails and celebrate cross country. It's also time to recognize former high school standouts from our area who have continued to run competitively.
We are in the middle of college cross-country championships, and the Fort Wayne area has produced numerous runners who are making an impact for their colleges and universities. NCAA Division II and NAIA regional and conference (national qualifier meets) were this past weekend. NCAA Division I regional championships will happen Friday.
For those of us who enjoy cross-country at a more pedestrian pace, the annual Turkey Trot at Fox Island is Saturday.
Hosted by the Fort Wayne Track Club, the race is a 5K (3.1 mile) trail run through the park followed by a Thanksgiving-type feast.
The race has been held for nearly 40 years, first at Shoaff Park and then at Fox Island and has had many different race directors. But no matter the race director, several traditions that live on: Jim Didier Award to the first boy and girl high school runners and frozen turkeys given to the overall winners and master's winners. Oh, and the post-race feast, complete with doughnuts, fruit, coffee, hot chocolate, cookies and other items.
This year the race is being directed by Michael Yann who has added a slight twist: fingerless gloves.
“We've always included cotton knit gloves instead of T-shirts for the runners,” Yann said. “But this year we have switched to fingerless gloves and upgraded the quality quite a bit as well.”
The race is also a FWTC points race and is chip-timed. The race fee also includes entry into Fox Island for the day. Online registration is available from www.fwtc.org through Thursday evening and then on race day.
The park opens at 8 a.m. for race registration. At 9:45 is the 15,000-centimeter (about 150 meters) Turkey Toddler run for children age 10 and under; at 10 a.m. the 5K begins.
Cushman, McLain race well at NCAA D-II regionals
Norwell graduate Alex Cushman and Homestead graduate Andrew McLain earned All-Midwest Regional honors at Saturday's NCAA Division II championships held in Parkside, Wis.
Cushman, a junior at the University of Indianapolis, placed third in the field of 199 runners. He finished the 10K course in 31 minutes, 21 seconds and advanced to the NCAA Championships to be held Nov. 23 in Spokane, Wash.
McLain, a senior at Lewis University near Chicago, finished eighth in the race with a time of 31:37 and advanced to nationals for the second straight year.
Also running for Lewis was Homestead graduate Kayla Patterson, who helped lead the women's team to a national meet berth. Patterson was Lewis' fifth runner and Lewis placed fourth.
Indiana Tech men, women earn NAIA national berths
Both Indiana Tech cross-country teams earned berths in the NAIA National Championships to be held Nov. 23 in Lawrence, Kan. Both teams placed second recently at the Wolverine-Hoosier Athletic Conference championships and are ranked No. 20 nationally. Columbia City graduate Brenden Zoltek was No. 2 man for the Warriors.
Also earning a spot in the national meet is Indiana Wesleyan, led by 2013 Concordia graduate Jacob Reinking. The Wildcats won Saturday's Crossroads League Championships.