Strunck set to lead Ohio State Club Running Team

Andy Harris
Suburbanite correspondent
Jackson graduate Sarah Strunck (left) does the "O-H" with friend Abby Lenz.

COLUMBUS – For alums of the Jackson cross country program, running is often a lifelong passion.

Whether they go on to run varsity track in college or not, they often stay connected to the program and the sport. For 2019 Jackson graduate Sarah Strunck, that connection has required a bit of extra effort, but it has also led her into an exciting new opportunity. As she ends her sophomore year at Ohio State, Strunck has found a new running home with the Ohio State Club Running Team, a group that trains and competes throughout the academic year.

This coming year, she’ll be in a leadership role with the club.

“I joined the running club my freshman year. Coming from Jackson cross country, I knew I would miss running so much, and after first year decided to get a leadership position,” Strunck said. “Last year, I was the social media manager this coming year, I’m going be the long distance captain, so I’ll be coming up with the training plans for the summer and fall for cross country.”

Strunck didn’t have to go far for help with developing training plans for the club. She reached out to longtime Jackson cross country head coach Kevin Walsh, recalling all of the runs, practices and training she did in her time with the Polar Bears.

Like any group that has come through the program in the past two decades, Strunck and her fellow Class of 2019 cross country seniors enjoyed plenty of success while wearing the purple and gold. So when the time came to do some coaching and leading of her own, she knew where to go.

“I had asked coach Walsh for some help in terms of resources from what he used to come up with for us because I definitely have a lot of trust in him and his running knowledge,” Strunck said.

Sarah Strunck (right) with her friend Andrea Hufstetler, a Perry High School graduate, who are both members of the Ohio State Running Club.

She admitted that she’s thought about pursuing coaching before and is open to it if an opportunity comes along in the future due in large part to the massive impact her time running track and cross country at Jackson have had on her.

She’s a chemical engineering major heading into her junior year and currently in a co-op for Cargill, where she’s worked at a salt mine in Louisiana and learned more about where she’d like to go with her career once she earns her undergraduate degree.

That clarity is especially helpful for college students the closer they get toward graduation, but Strunck is eager about the near future as well. During semester, she and the running club practice nearly every day and do workouts twice a week.

They have meets on the weekends, although Strunck admitted that they try to schedule their meets so club members can participate in another popular on-campus activity at OSU – home football games.

“Our races are usually planned around the football games so we're able to go to games and do races, and we also have indoor races in the winter,” Strunck said. “We do race against other Big Ten running clubs and we also run in at meets at schools like Otterbein and run against Division III teams from other universities, which is exciting.”

It’s a connection to a sport that has played a big role in Strunck’s life in recent years and one she hopes will continue to be a part of it going forward.