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Given to Fly

August 18, 2008

Given to Fly: Bronze medalist has strong ISU ties

One of the remarkable American medalists of this 2008 Olympics thus far also provided one of the most sparkling stories in the brief history of the LaVern Gibson Championship Cross Country Course here in Terre Haute.

Shalane Flanagan won the bronze medal Saturday (late Friday evening here) in Beijing in the 10,000 meters, becoming the first American woman to medal in the event since 1992.

As a junior running for the University of North Carolina, Flanagan won the first of five NCAA Championships to be contested at the Terre Haute course.

Flanagan’s mother, Cheryl Treworgy, is an Indiana State Athletics Hall of Fame member, and Treworgy was shown extensively on the delayed NBC telecast cheering for her daughter as the focused Flanagan reeled in the third-place runner and went on to break the American 10K record.

Current ISU assistant track and cross country coordinator Geoff Wayton, an ISU alumnus, stays in touch with Treworgy.

“I got all teary eyed watching the camera pan to Cherrie,” said Wayton, who will be the meet director for the NCAA meet this fall. “It’s really fantastic what [Cheryl] went through. I did a project in grad school on what she had to overcome. She got kicked off the track as a young girl. She had to start behind the boys so she wouldn’t humiliate the guys. You see her daughter reaping the benefits of what she had to go through.”

Treworgy, who attended Indianapolis North Central High School, was a pioneer in women’s athletics, particularly running, becoming the first American woman to receive an athletic scholarship. The funding was actually a “talented student scholarship” and the brainchild of Dr. Eleanor Forsythe St. John, an Indiana State physical education teacher.

Originally Cheryl Pedlow, and then Cheryl Bridges when she married as a Sycamore sophomore, Treworgy held the women’s world record in marathon from 1971 to 1973 (2 hours, 49 minutes and 40 seconds).

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