Flanagan's Boston finish sets her up for even bigger things
Lindsay Flanagan is running unattached, without a sponsor. After Monday that may change.
Achieving her goal of a top-10 finish to gain Olympic Trials qualification, the former Lake Park and University of Washington distance star placed ninth among women at the 123rd Boston Marathon.
Flanagan finished the winding, 26.2-mile course in 2 hours, 30 minutes, 7 seconds. The third American woman after Jordan Hasay and Desiree Linden, she crossed the finish line in Boston's Copley Square 6 minutes, 36 seconds behind the women's winner, Worknesh Degefa of Ethiopia.
When the lead pack moved at the 3-mile mark Flanagan hung back, she said. The strategy saved energy to combat the hills down the road. Her first checkpoint among the top 10 runners was after the 21-mile mark.
"I made my move with about 10 miles to go, and that's when I was able to start picking people off," she said Tuesday.
Her younger sister, Kaylee, a former state champion at Lake Park herself, helped celebrate the moment.
"She was going crazy when I was coming in, and she was right there when I finished," said Lindsay Flanagan, who encouraged her parents, Milton and Becky, to watch the race on television due to a lack of good vantage points.
Flanagan has rebounded from injury. She finished 11th in Boston in 2017 at 2:34.44, but stress fractures in her feet reflected a 37th-place finish at the World Championships in London four months later.
Once healed she returned to the 2018 Frankfurt Marathon in Germany, where she'd had success in 2016. Last year she set her personal record of 2:29.25.
"It was a pretty tough year (in 2017) and last year was pretty big to be able to come back and have a big 'PR' when I ran Frankfurt. That was a good step in the right direction," said Flanagan, 28, who lives in Boulder, Colorado.
Along with coach Steve Magness and agent Josh Cox, Flanagan started the buildup to Boston in mid-December.
"I ran in Germany at the end of October, so this gave me plenty of time to recover and get ready for this one," she said. "That last one was more like a pace kind of race, but Boston is more like a championship race. It's tactical, it's not so much about time as it is place."
Flanagan said she and her team had focused on attaining qualifying position in Boston and little beyond that. With the standard achieved she may run shorter events, half-marathons or 10-kilometer races, leading up to the Olympic Marathon Trials in Atlanta on Feb. 29, 2020.
"If I can get faster at the shorter stuff that helps with the marathon, for sure," Flanagan said.
The 13th Lauren's Bash will be held April 26 at Anyway's Pub, 5 E. Roosevelt Rd., Oakbrook Terrace, from 7 p.m. on. It's a run-up to the 13th Remembering Lauren 5K Family Run/Walk on June 15, starting and ending at Willowbrook High School.
The party, 5K and the Lauren Kiefer Memorial Foundation itself arose out of a tragic situation. Returning home from a party on Christmas Day 2006, the 2000 Willowbrook graduate interrupted a burglar inside, who fatally beat her.
In the 2007 debut of the Remembering Lauren 5K, $50,000 was donated in her name to agencies such as St. Jude Children's Research Hospital and Parents of Murdered Children. Over the years beneficiaries have included Lurie's Children's Hospital, the York Center Food Pantry and simply families in need.
Lauren's mother, Willowbrook High School athletic department administrative assistant Janice Kiefer, said more than $100,000 alone has gone to scholarships for Willowbrook seniors who shared Lauren's traits of kindness, compassion, academics and community pride.
Lauren's Bash on April 26 will offer split-the-pot and raffle prizes, including a five-day condominium stay in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. Those who present a flyer available on the foundation website will have 20 percent of their food and beverage costs donated to the foundation. For more information, visit www.rememberlaur.com.
Going for it
We all know what senioritis is. Waubonsie Valley's Harper Cole has the opposite of that.
An all-DuPage Valley Conference receiver-cornerback and four-year football player for the Warriors, this spring Cole went out for tennis. It's the first time he's played the game competitively since he was a sixth-grader at Scullen Middle School.
He's on the Warriors' No. 1 doubles team with partner Andrew Luckett, a junior. After an 0-3 start the duo now stands at 4-5, helping Waubonsie win the Schaumburg Invite on April 13.
Cole said over the years boys tennis coach Phil Galow had asked him about joining the team, but the clincher came when Waubonsie Valley Principal Jason Stipp heard Cole had played. Stressing how fast high school experiences fly by, Cole said, Stipp made his pitch.
"He was like, give it a look, inviting me, I guess," Cole said. "It made me excited to get something going in the spring. I guess I'm not one to coast, I like to be active and kind of go with the flow rather than being laid-back at home."
Cole also wanted to break the "stereotype" that a football player can't play tennis, and vice versa.
He bought a new racket, but it broke. Cole dusted off the old Babolat he'd used to win a middle school tournament while still in fifth grade and qualify for a regional tournament in Indianapolis at 10 years old, playing with Five Star Tennis in Plainfield.
"There were times when I missed it, watching on television or kind of messing around with my parents, who both play, but I loved football too much to really miss it," Cole said.
It didn't hurt that his mother, Eliza, wanted him to play. Not that he'll freely admit it.
"I guess I'm not, like, doing it for her," Cole said, "but it's kind of fun to have her watch me and relive old times."
Naperville Central girls swim coach Mike Adams received the 2019 Outstanding Service Award by the National Interscholastic Swimming Coaches Association on March 23 in Austin, Texas. A state coach of the year seven times, sectional coach of the year 13 times and a national coach of the year, Adams' honor simultaneously entered him into the International Swimming Hall of Fame in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.
Ed Vatch, who went 28-0 and won the 167-pound wrestling title in 1971 as a senior at Addison Trail -- and later beat a 680-pound bear named Victor -- was inducted into the Illinois Wrestling Coaches and Officials Association Hall of Fame on April 6 in Countryside. An Amateur Athletic Union national champion and Junior Olympics bronze medalist, Vatch was named a high school scholastic All-American by Amateur Wrestling News in 1971. At Wisconsin he was a two-time Big Ten champion whose 32 career falls rank third there. An assistant coach at Northern Illinois, Vatch helped produce 16 Mid-American Conference champions and 32 NCAA qualifiers.
Glenbard West senior gymnast Maddie Diab joined Sports Illustrated's "Faces in the Crowd" section in the magazine's March 25-April 1 edition. The blurb highlighted the Iowa State recruit's titles in balance beam, parallel bars, vault and all-around at the girls state finals Feb. 15-16, pacing Glenbard West's second straight state championship. It credited Diab's three all-around victories and 10 overall state titles in her events.