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Bill Tidwell, Emporia State cross country alum from 1957, crosses the finish line after being recognized at the cross country alumni run Sunday morning at Jones Park. Tidwell was the first All-American for Emporia State cross country.

Eleven former Emporia State cross country runners were inducted into the inaugural class of the cross country Hall of Fame, on Sunday at Jones Park. The inductees included members of the women’s team that earned multiple All-American honors and members of the men’s team that were national runner-ups.

“Sixty years ago marks the year where the ESU men’s cross country team won their first national title,” said Lucas Shryock, freshman psychology major. “ESU has had a rich history in cross country.”

The event also included the annual alumni run for past and current cross country runners.

Alums had the option of running a shorter, two mile course or the full course alongside current students. The men ran a four mile course while the women ran a five kilometer course.

Following the races, the course at Jones park was formally dedicated to the most recent national champion-ship and runner-up teams.

“The alumni run was great,” said Devyn Smith, junior. “It was incredibly exciting to meet previous ESU athletes and hear their stories and also see old team mates again.”

Current members were fully pre-pared for the race, they said.

“The team usually start practice at 6 a.m. in the morning or at 3 p.m. in the afternoon,” said Jared Reinke, junior. “The team worked out mostly at Jones Park, Peter Pan Park, High-land Hill, and at the track.”

A lot of their preparation goes beyond practice and into the mental side, said senior Leah Nelson.

“Being a cross country runner I’ve learned that you have to have grit as coach says,” Nelson said. “You have to be able to be comfortable with be uncomfortable. In fact you need to thrive in that environment. We run through rain, snow, wind, night, day and mornings. The only thing that stops us is lighting and even then we’re moving inside in the gym.”

The next stop for ESU cross country team is at 8:30 a.m. Sept. 1 in Augusta, Kansas. It will be the WSU/J.K Gold classic.

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