The nationally-recognized cross country course at UW-Parkside has an illustrious history and six people who helped create the course and grow its fame are being honored on Saturday, Sept. 9 with a special ceremony.
The six honorees are:
Wayne Dannehl, the former Parkside athletic director, course founder and course co-developer after whom the course is named;
Vic Godfrey, Parkside’s first men’s cross country coach and the course creator and co-developer;
The late Bob Lawson, former men’s track and field coach who led the women’s cross country team to the 1980 NAIA title, Parkside’s first national title in any sport;
Former Ranger women’s cross country coach Mike De Witt, who guided the 1986 women’s team to the NAIA national title;
Kim (Piper) Merritt, former Parkside national champion and 1976 Boston Marathon champion;
Former Ranger men’s cross country coach Lucian Rosa, who also was a multiple national distance champion for Parkside.
The six will be honored during a 10 a.m. ceremony. Lawson is being honored posthumously and the other five are expected to be in attendance.
In addition to being honored during the ceremony, the six will be honored with a plaque that will stand with a “Tree of Champions” planted in the starting straightaway. Dedication of the plaque is part of the ceremony.
The new tree replaces the tree that stood in the straightaway since before the course opened in 1976. The old tree was uprooted by heavy winds and rain during a spring storm earlier this year.
Following the ceremony is the annual Midwest Open meet, which is being renamed in Godfrey’s honor. The UWP Vic Godfrey Open women’s 5-kilometer race begins at 10:30 a.m. and the men’s 8-kilometer race begins at 11:15 p.m.
Following the races, there will be a reception and luncheon from 1:30 to 3:30 p.m. at Casa Capri, 2129 Birch Road in Kenosha. All alumni and friends of the cross country program are invited; the cost is $20.
To reserve seating, which is limited, or for more information, please call the Parkside athletic office at 262-595-2245.