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John Newman '94 just had to be there.
There" was the 1993 NCAA Division III men's cross
country championships in Iowa. The urgency was because his
friend and teammate Jeff Lyndaker '95 was competing.
So Newman and John Lavigne '93 made the 16-hour trek
from Canton to Grinnell to watch Lyndaker — who earned
All-America honors with a 12th-place finish — then turned
around and drove home.
It was one of those crazy things that you do when you're in
college," says Newman, now St. Lawrence’s head men's cross
country coach.
Twenty years later, it's not so crazy. In fact, it's quite normal
for St. Lawrence runners who don't qualify for regional or na-
tional championships to join the large number of alumni and
parents at these meets, no matter how far away they might be.
The St. Lawrence contingent stands out at these races, and
not just because of its size. Red union suits, capes and flags
aren't uncommon, nor are face paint or the occasional bare-
chested guy.
Parents are usually a bit more demure, often providing food
for the runners after the race. (Runners from my era in the
late 1990s were treated nearly every week to chocolate chip
cookies, always wrapped in twos so you couldn't just eat one,
from the mother of Brendan Hogan '00.)
It's a distinctive tradition at St. Lawrence that the men's and
women's teams line the course and cheer like mad when one
of them is racing. If the teams have a closer connection than
most, it's because their head coaches are closer than most.
While Newman coaches the men's team, his former coach,
Mike Howard '87, now in his 25th year as a head coach, over-
sees the women's program while serving as director of cross
country and track and field.
In fact, Howard and Newman have been together for 23
years. With an age difference of only seven years, they're close
enough to be siblings, yet their approaches almost cast them
in different eras.
All-American Dan Ramsey '11 describes Howard as an "old-
school" coach who doesn't waver from his training plan.
There's an established way to train in Canton, and Howard
doesn't stray from it," says Ramsey. "The continued success of
the program) validates his faith."
Cross Country Trips
Alumni support is one reason for the success of the cross country
teams – and sometimes it’s the alumni who put on the most miles.
by Aaron Todd ’00, M’06