AHS grads still running strong

Published 9:12 pm Monday, July 16, 2012

AHS grads Christian Folken, left and Tim Erickson, have run track and cross country together at St. Olaf for the past two years and they are preparing for their third season together. -- Rocky Hulne/sports@austindailyherald.com

Christian Folken and Tim Erickson have been running together for a long time and they’re probably not stopping any time soon.

The pair of 2010 Austin grads who were two-time All-Staters with the Packers are getting set to start their third season with St. Olaf College’s men’s cross country and track and field teams this coming year.

Since coming to St. Olaf, Folken and Erickson have adjusted a running season that lasts for most of the year and they’ve had to work even harder than they did in high school.

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But it’s not like they’re complaining.

“You’re always trying to get better and it seems like there’s always someone better than you in college,” Erickson said. “You get a big bond with the team. There’s 40 or 50 guys on the team and it’s hard not to get close to them and it’s hard to not run when they’re all doing it.”

While Erickson specializes in middle distance running during indoor and outdoor track and field seasons, Folken prefers the 8K races that cross country team runs in the fall.

Since they live in the same building on campus and spend plenty of time together, Folken and Erickson are always finding ways to keep each other motivated.

“I keep him going during cross country season and he keeps me going during track season,” Folken said. “It’s kind of tough being in the middle of the pack, but running with people who are faster pushes us to train harder and get those times down. When you’re always on the top, sometimes you can get a little lazy.”

Erickson, who is recovering from an injury, and Folken have been training throughout the summer and they’ll be ready for another solid year of running when they arrive on campus. While training on a daily basis can get draining, Folken said there are still those moments when it all becomes worthwhile.

“It can get long and sometimes your times aren’t what you want them to be,” Folken said. “Then you’ll have that one race where you PR and it re-energizes you and reminds you why you put in all of those miles.”

Folken is hoping to have a solid season for the Oles cross country team, which took 23rd in the NCAA Division III Championships in 2011, and Erickson is hoping to run himself into shape this fall so he can peak during track season.

St. Olaf will open its cross country season Sept. 1 in Minneapolis.


Christian Folken — 800-meter run: 1:58.81; 1000-meter run: 2:40.17; 1600-meter run: 4:51.5; 8K — 27:38

Tim Erickson — 600-meter run: 1:24.05; 800-meter run: 1:56.91; 400-meter run: 52.11; 1000-meter run: 2:36.30; 8K — 28:07