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Burnell ‘14 Inducted to the Grinnell College Athletic Hall of Fame

Burnell ‘14 Inducted to the Grinnell College Athletic Hall of FameSarah L. Burnell ’14 is a prominent figure in the Pioneer record books and the Grinnell community. As a four-year cross country runner and mid-distance specialist in track, Burnell consistently found success at conference and national levels. In cross country, she was a two-time Midwest Conference champion, four-time all-conference honoree, and a two-time participant in the NCAA National Championships.In track, Burnell was a multi-time conference champion in the 800, mile, 1,500, and 4×400 relay, and she qualified for the Indoor and Outdoor NCAA National Championships in 2014. There, her third-place finish in the indoor mile and fourth-place finish in the outdoor 1,500 earned her All-America honors in both events. It came as no surprise when she was given the Joyce Buck ’56 Award for top athlete in more than one sport that same year. Burnell currently holds Grinnell records in five different events and is among the top four in four others.She was fortunate to have her family on site for many of her accomplishments. Since she grew up in Grinnell, her parents were able to attend most competitions. On top of these incredible athletic accomplishments, her steady commitment to academics and service made her a true embodiment of a Grinnellian. She earned Academic All-Conference nominations in every season that she participated for Grinnell and was named to the NCAA DIII All-Academic Team twice. Moreover, she was awarded the Honor G Service Award in 2014 and has continued to serve the College’s community as a GRASP volunteer, externship host, donor, and former employee in both admission and conference operations.Since graduating in 2014, Burnell has continued to make an impact in running communities at Grinnell and beyond. She holds certificates in ASEP coaching and USATF Level 1 track and field coaching, which she has used to pass on her wisdom to younger generations of runners, first as a volunteer coach at Grinnell, then at Otterbein University, an assistant coach at Smith College, and now has returned to Grinnell as the head men’s and women’s cross country coach. These experiences have not come at the expense of her own athletic pursuits, as Burnell has become an avid marathon runner and usually participates in two marathons per year, including qualifying for the Boston Marathon several times and running in it twice

by Ted Schultz

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