According to the Duluth News Tribune, the Swain Invitational is coming to an end after being run for nearly 70 years. Members of the organizing committee are getting older and there was no one to step in and take over, according to former meet manager Kerry Loucks.
"As a committee, we've been actively looking for other individuals or groups and just could get anyone to wrap their arms doing it," Loucks said. "It finally got to a point after years of trying to find one that I think COVID was just the catalyst to say I guess we can step away because we had to step away last year." Said Loucks.
The Swain Invitational has long been one of the biggest meets in Minnesota. In 1999 the Swain Invitational had a meet record of 85 teams run and 2300 participants. The meet normally had well over 60 teams and 1,500 participants.
The meet began in 1951 and was named for former Duluth Central cross country coach John Swain. Central hosted the event for many years before the school closed in 2011, Duluth East cross country coach Dave Wicker said. At one point, the Swain Invitational was one of the two or three biggest meets in the state, but the number of schools attending began to fall because of budget cuts and travel restrictions, particularly for Twin Cities schools.
Instead of the unwieldy 65 or 70 teams meet the Swain had become, Wicker intends to host the Lester Park Invitational on Oct. 9, the same weekend the Swain traditionally occurred each year. The new meet will have 15 to 20 teams and run at the Lester Park Golf Course.
To see the team winners, and individual winners for each year of the Swain Invitational, click through to the next page!