Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald


Photo inspires runner Grinaker

When Hanna Grinaker wakes up, the first thing she sees is her team.

"Above my bed, I have a blown up picture of all of us," Grinaker said, adding that it acts as a reminder of who she is and where she can go.

"It tells me every morning, 'This is why I'm here,'" Grinaker added. "I'm passionate about cross country, and I want to see how much I can get out of it."


So far the sophomore from Detroit Lakes, Minn., has done a great deal with her opportunity to run for UW. Last season she was an All-American and was named Big Ten Freshman of the Year. Her third-place finish in last year's Big Ten Championship with a time of 20:39 was the fastest of all present freshmen and the highest finish by a freshman since 2004.

This week marks the one-year anniversary of her first Big Ten Cross Country co-athlete of the week award.

What accolades do not describe, however, is her passion for the sport and the art of running.

"I love cross country because it's reckless abandon," Grinaker said.

And despite her success last year, Grinaker wants more. She’s not yet where she would like to be.

"I don't think any of my stats are really impressive. I'm still working to be a better runner," the modest Grinaker added.

Grinaker is only a second away from running the mile in less than five minutes. Although her high school coach was never a runner, Grinaker claims his dedication to making her the best she could be played a major role in her success.

Now she's at UW, following the footsteps of her aunt Mary, who ran track for the Badgers and captured a UW Big Ten Championship.

Inspired by head coach Jim Stintzi, Grinaker's greatest challenge is to stay physically and mentally healthy throughout the entire season.

"I think she is someone who is exceptionally disciplined and has a great work ethic," Stintzi said. "She has a strong sense of her abilities, and she knows what she needs to do to improve."

Grinaker looks to Stintzi for his experienced advice. Stintzi was an All-American Badger and since his return to UW in 2004, he propelled Wisconsin into national rankings in both cross country and track.

"His workouts give us confidence," Grinaker said. "I listen to his advice, and I trust his system. There is always a little bit left in the tank, but the workouts leave us mentally tough."

Despite the fact that she's only a sophomore, Grinaker has naturally embraced a leading role on the team.

"She definitely is a leader in terms of her work ethic," Stintzi said. "She's not super vocal, but she's encouraging of her teammates."

Grinaker sees this season as an opportunity to further progress.

"I hope other people would look to me to be a leader. I feel like I am learning all the time," she said. "I hope I can be a role model to the younger girls. Diligence and hard work really do pay off."

This past weekend the Badgers won their third straight Pioneer Invitational. Grinaker finished second, barely trailing teammate Cassie Hintz, a redshirt freshman from Stillwater, Maine. The Badgers secured the top eight spots and notched a perfect score of 15 in their win.

Currently ranked No. 5 in the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association, the UW women's cross country team will look to Grinaker for continued success and leadership this fall.

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