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Greeno, Eggers capture titles at 17th annual Foot Lake 4

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WILLMAR -- Once again, the MIAC dominated the high finishes at the 17th annual Foot Lake 4, sponsored by Rice Hospital.

Ex-runners for the Bethel College Royals took three of four top places overall and Katie Eggers of Gustavus Adolphus claimed her second straight top prize in the women's race.

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Dan Greeno, 23, running a blistering 5:04 pace in his first FL4, reached the finish at Second Street Southwest and Becker Avenue in 20:16. He trumped ex-Minnesota Gopher Ben Kampt by 17 seconds.

Next came Bethel graduates Tyler Hinrichs (21:18) of St. Paul, via Clara City, and two-time defending champion Carl Gladitsch (22:07) of Bloomer, Wis.

Gladitsch is in medical school at UW-Madison and says that has cut into his miles.

The race to benefit cardiac rehabilitation scholarships drew 455 registrations for the run plus upwards of 150 for the untimed walk.

The 4-mile run had 430 timed on the non-returnable electronic chip, 224 in the male division and 206 in female.

Weather was a relatively cool 62 degrees under overcast skies at the 8 a.m. start on Litchfield Avenue.

Greeno ran a sub-five-minute mile, leading a cluster of recent college runners past Virgil Olson Beach by about 50 yards.

The St. Michael native used this race to gauge his fitness for the Twin Cities Marathon in October, he said. In 2010 he ran the 26-miler in 2:25, putting the four-time All-America in cross country and track in the top 30.

"I really like that (trail) through the woods. It was like a cross-country course," he said of winding path through Robbins Island. "I was surprised by that little hill at the bridge. That killed me."

Eggers, who ran for the Montevideo Thunder Hawks in high school before going to college in St. Peter, was also caught off guard by the bridge climb.

"I always forget about that hill," said the Gusties' No. 1 runner in cross country. "It doesn't seem like that big a deal but it's tough. The good part, though, is coming down the other side and you're almost done."

Jayne Cole, who runs for Luther (Iowa) College, was the second woman to finish. Eggers finished in 25:59, which was 21st overall. Cole, an ex-Willmar Cardinal who ran and played soccer and hockey, came in 27th overall in 26:53.

Joel Dudgeon, a 44-year-old Wabasso teacher, placed fifth overall.

Hinrichs prompted the Bethel migration several years ago of runners from the Roseville campus. Runner-up Kampt competed for the Gophers from 2005 to 2010. The Farmington native works for Run n Fitness in St. Paul, which sponsors a running team that includes the ex-Bethel runners.

Footnotes

Ex- or current Willmar High School runners in the top 15 were represented by Paul Kimpling (7th), Kyler Vossen (8th), Derek Ballandby (11th), Thomas Seifert (15th). ... Ben Burgett of Spicer placed ninth running a 5:58 pace. The 14-year-old from Spicer and Community Christian School won the 5k at Robbins Island on Memorial Day weekend. ... Jim Swenson, 69, of Willmar walked the course in just under an hour. No small accomplishment his smile indicated. He wore a red pin on his chest with the number 523 and the date 9-18-04. The interpretation: he was the 523rd heart transplant patient at the University of Minnesota on that date. ... Retired Ortonville teacher Connie Newman, 74, returned after a four-year absence and clobbered the over-70 age-group record on his first try by nearly five minutes. He explained that a blood clot in his leg at the Fargo Marathon that passed through his heart and into his lung forced him to curtail his busy race schedule. He continued to send in his FL4 registration fee as a gesture of support. He's been running competitively for 49 years. Dennis Hier, 74, who held the record, was second followed by Evan Jones, 72, and Richard Hagen 76. ... Other age group records in 2011: Joyce Van Heuveln of Kerkhoven in women's 70-and-up; Joshua Starr 12-and-under boys and Jessa Hanson 12-and-under girls. ... Sandra Schagel, race director, is sold on the disposable chip that is tied into the competitors shoe lace. Emblazoned FL4, they are a souvenir. Though more costly than the ankle bracelets, there's "less stress" because there's no need to collect them at the end. Bracelets not returned or lost cost the event sponsors $30 each, so there's a savings overall. ... Bryan DeGroot of Prinsburg finished 2 of 19 in the 55-59 age group before he headed to the high school tennis courts to compete in the Cardinal Classic Men's Masters.

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Rand Middleton

Covers Willmar and area high schools and Ridgewater College, plus amateur baseball, stock car racing and fitness events in summer. Writes weekly column since 1980. Began working in radio and at weekly newspaper in Munising, Michigan, in 1972. Started parttime at West Central Daily Tribune Sept. 1974. Fulltime beginning Feb. 1979. Married to Tribune news clerk Donna (Miller) Middleton, formerly of Kerkhoven. 2 grown children. 

(320) 214-4334
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