The Mid-American Conference isn’t in the habit of naming trophies after individuals, but if that was the case, Dave Wing would be a worthy namesake for the cross-country male runner of the week award.
The Miami senior won that award for the third consecutive week last Wednesday after finishing first among RedHawks runners and 11th overall at the University of Kentucky’s Bluegrass Invitational the previous Saturday. In the team’s first 8K race of the season, the Naperville, Ill., native finished in a career-best 24 minutes, 17.21 seconds.
Wing credited timing for his streak — but not necessarily his on the course.
“I don’t think it says much,” he said. “A lot of the other (MAC) schools haven’t run their top guys yet.”
Wing, a finance major, opened the season by finishing second overall and first among Miami runners in the Dayton Flyer 5K on Aug. 31, followed by winning 5K Miami Invitational on Sept. 7.
He was among Miami’s top three runners all of last season, leading the RedHawks and finishing eighth overall in the All-Ohio Championships before finishing 10th overall at the MAC Championship meet, an improvement from 21st as a sophomore.
He credits his improvement this season to improving an already healthy diet, he said.
“I have a couple of teammates, both on the men’s and women’s teams, who are nutrition majors, and they’ve helped me learn about what to stay away from and what to add,” said Wing, also Miami’s Male Athlete of the Week for three consecutive weeks. “I didn’t eat super unhealthy before.”
The 22-year-old Wing, an avid hockey fan who follows the Chicago Blackhawks, would occasionally jog with his mother as early as elementary school, he said. He started running seriously in the seventh or eighth grade to get back in shape for hockey. He grew accomplished enough to lead his Neuqua Valley High School to the Illinois state championship as a senior, generating interest from Miami and Tennessee.
“I was really interested in Tennessee or Kentucky, but I came here for a visit and really liked the campus and the guys on the team,” said Wing, who also runs distance races on the Miami track team. “It seemed like a great fit.”
Even though mononucleosis cost him his freshman track season, the experience has been so agreeable that he plans to stay for a fifth year and complete his track eligibility while pursuing an accounting degree.
“I love it here,” he said. “I’ve enjoyed it ever since I got here.”
One disappointment, though. He couldn’t indulge his love of hockey by participating in one of Miami’s chief forms of recreation – the overwhelmingly popular broomball.
“My coach (Warren Mandrell) wouldn’t even let me take a class,” he said with a smile. “He was afraid I’d get hurt.”
Miami is scheduled to return to a course on Oct. 4 at the All-Ohio Championships at Cedarville. The MAC Championship meet is scheduled for Nov. 2 at Bowling Green, followed by the NCAA Great Lakes Regional on Nov. 15 at Madison, Wis.