The Ottumwa Courier


April 25, 2014

Strunk shatters school record at Cornell

MOUNT VERNON — Sydney Strunk continues to enjoy success on the track and in the classroom.

Today, the former Ottumwa track and field standout and four-time high school track state qualifier is leaving an indelible imprint on the Cornell College track and field team (NCAA Division III) during her freshman campaign. On April 12, Strunk was part of a 4x800 team that zoomed to a school-record time of 9:23.99 at the Norse Relays in Decorah, shattering the previous record of 9:52.89.

"We were all really pumped and ready for it," Strunk said about her team's attitude before the race.

The former Ottumwa runner and her teammates ran their personal-best split times in their record-breaking run. Incredibly, the quartet, which featured girls from four different states (Iowa, Colorado, Texas and California) were running together for the first time. And, for Strunk, it marked the first time the freshman Ram had run the 4x800 since the 2011 Iowa Girls State Track Meet.

"The three other girls on the relay [team] are distance girls," Strunk said. "They knew I had run 800 meters in high school so they put me on the team."

The rest of Strunk's freshman season is peppered with successes including taking first in the 400-meter dash at the Cornell Ram Invite April 5 and anchoring the 4x100, 4x200 and 4x400 relay teams to top-three finishes during the indoor and outdoor seasons.

When she's not on the track, Strunk sparkles in the classroom as well. She boasts a 4.0 grade point average with a double major in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology and Spanish.

A bountiful amount of self-discipline and dedication have helped Strunk successfully maneuver between the athletic world and the world of academia.

"I just have to set aside X amount of hours to do homework and nothing else," Strunk said. "I spend a lot of time in the library and in my dorm studying."

For Strunk, Cornell's track team has proven to be a perfect fit.

"I get along with them [her teammates and coaches] really well," she said, "which makes it really enjoyable."

To follow Andy Heintz's Twitter feed, go to @CourierAndy

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