Senior Salute: Grant Strukel
Grant Strukel will soon be a 2020 graduate of Blue Earth Area High School. Grant will be attending the University of Minnesota - Morris this fall and will run both cross country and track and field.
What were some of the highlights of your high school cross country and track careers?
Highlights from cross country would be winning the Milaca Mega Meet 8th grade race in 8th grade, qualifying for state 4 straight years as an individual (9th-12th grade), 4 straight years Big South All-Conference. Highlights from track would be going to the State True Team Meet as a 9th grader, 4 straight years 3200m All-Conference (8th-11th grade), 2 time 4x800m All-Conference (9th and 10th grade), 4 straight years 3200m Sub-Section champion (8th-11th grade).
Did you encounter any struggles or adversity along the way that you had to overcome?
After my first two races my senior year, I started to experience dead legs. My legs would feel heavy and have nothing left in them after the first mile. I went to a doctor to see if I had a vitamin deficiency of some kind but the test didn't show any. My coach was very supportive and helped me get through it so I could finish off the year strong.
Aside from the competition, what was the best thing about being apart of Blue Earth Area program?
I really enjoyed being on a small team. We had about 25 runners out my senior year boys and girls 7-12. I got to know everyone very well and it was a great mix of energy and experience.
Are there any coaches or teammates that you've worked with over the past four years that you'd like to thank?
Yes quite a few. I would like to thank Lukas Pierson from St. James Area for pushing me to the runner I am today. He graduated two years before me and is someone I look up to. I want to thank Troy Parulski, Mauricio Vite, Jackson Miest and Seth Pierson for being my best friends and competitors all 6 years. I've also been lucky to get to know some area coaches like Brad Stark from St. James and Bob Bonk from Fairmont and I am very thankful for their support. I am also thankful for having Coach Howieson for 2 years before he went back to college and how he has stayed in touch with me. I am most thankful for Coach Plocker and the way he has both supported and pushed me to the best runner and person I could be. He cares about all his runners no matter their age or ability. He also is so humble and never takes credit for his runners success even when his training allows us to be in peak for when the section and conference meets come around.
What are your plans and goals for the future? Do you intend on continuing with the sport in college or in another capacity?
I plan on attending the University of Minnesota Morris next year for secondary education. I will run both cross country and track while there. I also hope to coach both track and cross country someday.
What advice would you give to a younger athlete who's hoping to have a successful and enjoyable high school career?
The best way to get better at running is just running. It doesn't need to be fast or hard, just putting on the miles can make you a much better runner. Also don't be afraid to put yourself out there. The people you run against are probably super nice and would love to meet new people and make new friends.