So it’s over with; track and field season capped off with the senior Last Chance meet at Augustana this past weekend. As acknowledged by many, Knox College had a really good season with much hope shining in the future of the program. At conference, two seniors, Pam Bell and Tim Rairdon, finished with a championship, and several other young athletes, including freshman Bill Schaefer and sophomore Adam Kent, look very promising as the season closed, giving the team a boost going into the off-season.
“We had a really productive season,” said freshman Courtney Jude, who was a surprise addition, and a welcome one at that. He and Rairdon, along with other runners, anchored a strong, if small, men’s roster.
“It was a really good season,” said Rairdon. “I felt good to tough it out like I did. I felt like I couldn’t have done it any other way (breaking the 1500 meter record).”
Rairdon, unlike Bell, didn’t take the trip to the Last Chance meet in Rock Island, IL, having to focus on other things instead.
“I felt that since I had already gotten my [personal record] there was no reason to go,” said Rairdon. “I have to keep my focus, and once I don’t, it’s like a train tumbling off the tracks. I have to keep it on the straight and narrow, think of the community, work for the team.”
As a real team leader, he looked out for the benefit of his people, making sure they were, and will be, in a position to improve and grow, both throughout the season and in the future.
“I saw a lot of people really break out of their molds this season. They became butterflies from the caterpillars they were. I had seen their wings, and it was a beautiful thing to see. I’m happy to be a part of what we did,” he said.
Rairdon also noted the team’s ability to take it all the way to the wire, and finish strong as a whole.
“Future generations will be faster, better,” he said of the future of the program. “I’m just gonna keep on running, and run as fast as I can.”
Truly, with the loss of a leader like this, the team could be in dire straits, but there is always someone to emerge, and as Rairdon said, someone will grow into the lead butterfly, to take wing in front of all the others.
“I just want to thank God for the help he gave the team,” said Rairdon in closing. “They couldn’t have done it without them.”
As he exits, track looks to be on the right path, led by some strong coaching in Patrick Irwin and Dan Zierfuss, and a lot of strong young athletes, little looks to be out of reach for the team. They just have to keep on running.