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The student news site of Eastern Illinois University in Charleston, Illinois.

The Daily Eastern News

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‘Swanson Season’ continues for cross country

Adam+Swanson%2C+a+cross+country+fifth+year+student+stretches+and+jogs+before+running+a+mile+at+Eastern+Illinois+Campus+Pond+Saturday+afternoon
Tyriq Johnson
Adam Swanson, a cross country fifth year student stretches and jogs before running a mile at Eastern Illinois Campus Pond Saturday afternoon

Starting the 2023 cross country season, fifth-year senior Adam Swanson finished first overall at the Walt Crawford Open on Friday, Sept. 1 at the Tom Woodall Panther Trail.

Swanson finished with a 25:01.8 time and left a 6.1 second gap between him and Indiana State’s Ethan Breen.

“I took it out pretty fast, and I wanted to see who would go with me,” Swanson said. “Nobody really went with me, so I was in ‘no man’s land,’ which is cool because it was me against myself.”

“[Adam] sets the tone,” sophomore Mason Stoeger said. “He went out hard at Walt Crawford, and we followed behind him… College cross hurts; every race, you have to go out hard, and if you got someone that knows that and is willing to do it, the rest of the team will be willing to do it.”

Adam Swanson, a cross country fifth year student stretches and jogs before running a mile at Eastern Illinois Campus Pond Saturday afternoon (Tyriq Johnson)

During his first two years in high school, cross country wasn’t the sport Swanson wanted to focus on. Besides being a sprinter at Dundee-Crown High School in Carpentersville, Illinois, Swanson played football as a cornerback.

“I didn’t do cross country until my junior year in high school,” Swanson said.

Swanson’s track coach, Matthew D’Angelo, made him run a mile as a punishment when he was late for practices.

“He saw how good my mile was, and he told me to join cross country,” Swanson said.

Swanson joined cross country and stopped playing football, so he could improve his times for longer distance runs.

“I had more of a passion for running than football,” Swanson said. “I was really good at football. I think I could’ve played in college, but I think I had more potential in running.”

Eastern’s Head Coach Erin Howarth recruited Swanson for the track team as a distance runner and for the cross-country team.

Swanson has been named 2nd Team All-OVC in 2021, and he was named 1st Team All-OVC in the 2022 season.

“I think [Adam] sets the tone for all of the workouts and for racing,” sophomore Michael Atkins said. “If everyone sees that one of our guys is going out hard, running by himself in the front and really taking that risk and pushing himself to his limits, I think it inspires everyone to work harder.”

Adam Swanson, a cross country fifth year student stretches and jogs before running a mile at Eastern Illinois Campus Pond Saturday afternoon (Tyriq Johnson)

On the course, Swanson takes on a captain role as he is a leader for the team.

“His actions speak louder than his words,” Atkins said. “He’s not a guy to provide useful information before a race, but you’ll watch him train, and you’ll watch him race, and that’s where you learn.”

Swanson has also made an impact on the freshmen class within the past couple of months.

“If you wanna look at a guy who’s able to capitalize the most of every time he steps out on the course, he’s that guy,” freshman Joseph Stoddard said. “He’s been crushing. He’s a good role model.”

When asked if he would change anything, Swanson said he doesn’t have any regrets about his decisions, but he wished that he got an earlier start with cross country.

“I don’t regret anything at all, but I do wish that I started cross country a little sooner,” Swanson said. “A part of me thinks that this was a blessing in disguise because I did play football and I swam…A part of me thinks that I wouldn’t have loved [cross country] as much or maybe I wouldn’t have improved as much.”

Outside of cross country, Swanson jokes around with his teammates.

“He’s a funny guy,” Atkins said. “He’s silly. He knows when to tone in and dial in, but outside of running, he’s just your average guy cracking jokes… He knows when to relax and have fun.”

“We don’t need running to be friends,” Stoeger said. “Adam comes to about every hangout that we have, and then he’ll host a barbecue, and he’s just a fun guy outside of running.”

The men’s cross country team says this season is “Swanson Season” because of how well Swanson has been doing throughout his time at Eastern.

“It’s definitely something that started in our group chat on Snapchat, and I didn’t even know what it was,” Swanson said. “I think it’s like, I’m the main weapon it sounds like, and it’s my season.”

“Adam Swanson is a man unlike any other guy that I’ve ever competed with,” Stoddard said. “He has an aura of professionalism and competitiveness that is unequal against any other cross-country runner.”

“Everyone is supporting me and hyping me up,” Swanson said. “It’s all in or nothing. It is a team thing, and the goal is to win the championship as a team and have a great season, but I think the highlight is that I’m the captain of the team and the head person. It’s all in or nothing for me because it’s my last year, so it’s ‘Swanson Season’ baby.”

Zaria Flippin can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected].

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Zaria Flippin
Zaria Flippin, Sports Editor
Zaria Flippin is a junior sports media relations major. This is her first year at The News.

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