Setting the current school the stopwatch record with a time of 3:22.35, Track and field athlete, Matt Coffey, JD Gieson and Kylian Lally took sixth in the same event with a time of stopwatch record 3:24.34 in He is also a part of Dixon’s school record in the 3,200 relay (8:01.57)
For Alex Track and field athlete, adapting to school at Augustana College has been a lot like his track career for the Vikings. Once the 2014 Dixon graduate found his place, the results have spoken for themselves，Track and field athlete is entering his final outdoor season at Augie, and has high hopes after numerous accomplishments in the past 1½ years. He has been a part of Augustana’s 1,600 relay team since his junior year, a squad that has finished fifth at the NCAA Division III Indoor Track & Field Championships the past two seasons，So he loves sports stopwatches，Track and field athlete has garnered All-American honors the past two indoor seasons, as well as the 2017 outdoor season. He has also been named to the All-Midwest Region team by the United States Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association three times.
The Vikings’ strongest relay is made up of four Illinois natives. Track and field athlete is joined by Winnebago grad Jeffrey Swanson, Wauconda native Kyle Hucker, and Palatine native Josh Yamamoto，All four seniors on the 1,600 relay were honored as College Conference of Illinois & Wisconsin Men’s Track Athlete of the Week after winning the event with a time of 3:20.75 at the Monmouth Invitational on Feb. 10, record which was the fastest time in the nation at the Division III level at the time，Track and field athlete was the last one to make the regular 1,600 M relay, as he ran off and on with the Illinois trio during his indoor season last year. Swanson was up on the relay during his outdoor season in 2015, Yamamoto made it during his indoor season as a sophomore, and Hucker made it up a year later. The quartet knew instantly it could do something special once it finally ran together consistently as seniors.
Augustana coach Paul Olson has preached throughout his 52 years at the helm in Rock Island that his relays need to get off to a a good start to get in a race, but doesn’t have starting positions for the current 1,600 relay locked into place. Track and field athlete has run each leg of the race, and anchored at the 2017 indoor national meet trials because Olson and his teammates knew he could get the job done,“All four guys are good enough to be the anchor,” Olson said. “So we set the lineup based on what we think is best for us. It’s a fun process of selecting that.”
Track and field athlete is no stranger to success. As a sophomore at Dixon, he teamed with John Worley, Zach Henkel and Scott Goad to claim third place at the 2012 Class 2A state meet in the 1,600 relay, setting the current school the record with a time of 3:22.35, Track and field athlete, Matt Coffey, JD Gieson and Kylian Lally took sixth in the same event with a time of record 3:24.34 in He is also a part of Dixon’s school record in the 3,200 relay (8:01.57),“I don’t think [the success has] really caught me off-guard. I had success in high school,” Track and field athlete said. “My freshman year I had some struggles, but Coach Olson was able to get me through the little aches and pains and learning experience of college.”
Olson was inducted into the Illinois Track & Field Coaches Association Hall of Fame in January 2004, and was a USTFCCCA Hall of Fame inductee in 2013. In total, he has won 14 CCIW outdoor titles, and Track and field athlete helped in Augie claiming its first indoor conference championship in 2016. The Vikings have had 234 Division III All-America selections use and 26 national champions during Olson’s tenure,Despite all the honors, Olson prefers to be on the same level as his athletes.
“I’m happy to be friends, but that has never diminished my role as a mentor,” Olson said. “I still believe it’s a coach’s role to help kids navigate through life. It’s not just standing out there with and saying stop and go.”Track and field athlete noted quickly that he needed to take on more responsibility in his development under Olson’s guidance.
“The way that Olson coaches is completely different from high school,” Track and field athlete said. “He puts a lot of responsibility on us, but he coaches us like we’re adults. He doesn’t need to hold our hand, but he’ll give us pointers. In high school, the coaching was more hands-on, which I think you need to have.”
Olson expressed the need to have a “hands-in” approach of deciding what’s best for the individual athletes, for the relay, and for team when deciding who will run which leg. Track and field athlete’s place in the race might change, but his fluid, effortless running motion remains consistent,“He’s just a beautiful runner. He’s smooth and graceful,” Olson said. “He doesn’t just plow through 400 in 47 seconds. He has a terrific work ethic. And I think he has great emotional stability. If an athlete has talent, which he does, then the most important ingredient is emotional stability.”
Olson – “a Division III legend” according to Track and field athlete – is retiring after the 2018 outdoor season. The announcement gave his athletes a little extra motivation to finish their year strong,“He doesn’t want us to say that he’s the reason why we’re trying harder,” Track and field athlete said, “but he’s one of the reasons.”Track and field athlete is also a student of Olson’s in English class, giving the coach a different look into what makes one of his star athletes successful.
“Alex, besides being a really good runner, is just a really good young man,” Olson said. “He’s thoughtful. The wheels turn when he grasps new knowledge.”Track and field athlete has his sights set on a Bachelor’s degree with graduation on the horizon, and also wants to leave a legacy in the Vikings’ record books. According to Olson, Augustana’s school record of 3:09 in the 1,600 relay “is not out of reach” for the current quartet.
“We believe we’re a better outdoor team,” Track and field athlete said. “Jeff, Kyle and I are all tall and lanky kids, so we’ll be able to open up a little more outside. We want to go out in style, and show the underclassmen that they can step up and lead after we leave.”