Janusiak battles back to earn All-America honors at NCAA Championships

Lawrence's Josh Janusiak finished 32nd at the NCAA Division III Championships to earn All-America honors.
Lawrence's Josh Janusiak finished 32nd at the NCAA Division III Championships to earn All-America honors.

WINNECONNE, Wis. -- The old saying goes that it's not how often you fall, it's what you do once you get back up.

Lawrence University cross country star Josh Janusiak was tripped up in the first 1,000 meters of Saturday's NCAA Division III Championships, but the senior from South Milwaukee, Wis., recovered to finish 32nd and earn All-America honors.

Janusiak covered the 8,000-meter layout at Lake Breeze Golf Course in 24:55.3. Dvruvil Patel of North Central (Ill.) College won the race in 24:24.5, and his team also captured the title.

"It was my goal to be an All-American in cross country since I started here at Lawrence, and given the circumstances, I'm proud of how I persevered and never gave up," said Janusiak, who was making his second consecutive trip to the NCAA Championships.

Janusiak found himself in a tangle of runners very early in the race.

"It was surreal at the biggest meet of my running career that I end up trapped under a pile of 10 or so runners for five to 10 seconds," Janusiak said. "I'm really proud that I was able to work my way back to All-American. It was the most mentally and physically difficult thing I've ever done."

Janusiak becomes just the second runner in Lawrence history to earn All-America honors in cross country. The first was Lawrence Hall of Famer Jim Miller, who finished 12th back in 1978. Janusiak was also the top finisher from the Midwest Conference. The closest league runner was Cornell College's Mason Wicker, who finished 36th.