Alex Rindone had no idea what to expect when he decided to run track at Augustana. Although he was well aware of Rindone’s talent, Vikings coach Paul Olsen was also unsure how the former Marmion standout would fare at the collegiate level.
But with Rindone setting five school records and winning 10 College Conference of Illinois & Wisconsin championships through his first two years, expectations clearly changed have for the junior.
Rindone’s track career with the Cadets ended with his first state meet appearance, as he competed in the 100 and 200 meters as well as the 4x100 and 4x200 relays. That followed what he called his best high school meet – Marmion’s victory at the 2009 St. Charles North Sectional.
Despite the impressive running resumé, Rindone didn’t arrive in Rock Island with an ego or an agenda.
“I wasn’t sure what to expect,” he said. “I wanted to go to a bigger school, but after three years I can say it’s a great fit. I love it. It’s just the right size.
“Socially, I’ve met friends that I’ll have for my entire life. I’m in a fraternity here, so that’s been great. I’ve really been enjoying the experience.”
Olsen couldn’t have asked for more from Rindone – on or off the track. The junior business marketing and communications major is well-spoken, respectful to his coaches and teammates and a true leader. Rindone, a Geneva resident, is also the current Augustana record holder in three indoor events – the 60, 200 and 300 meters – plus the 200 and 4x200 outdoors.
“I knew he was a talented sprinter and had some good high school credentials, but you just never know,” Olsen said before last Saturday’s Augustana Open. “But he’s shown the character traits besides the physical ability that make him such a competitor. He has this beautiful combination of tremendous confidence and humility.”
Rindone always shows respect for his opponents, but when he’s done shaking their hands, his priority is reaching the finish line first. Recently, he’s been doing a lot of that – and setting plenty of records along the way.
Rindone broke his own school mark in the 300 (35.07 seconds) at the Midwest Invitational on Jan. 21 and set the record in the 60 (7.05 seconds) at the Wisconsin-Whitewater Invitational on Feb. 3. Last Saturday, competing with a split squad at Grinell College, Rindone broke his own Augustana mark in the 200 (22:13) – and set the Bear Athletic Center record – to win the event at the Darren Young Classic.
He also helped the 4x400 team finish second as the Vikings got the added benefit of getting accustomed to the venue that will host the NCAA Division III indoor nationals on March 9-10.
Along with next week’s conference meet at North Central College, Rindone also has his eyes set on outdoor nationals in Claremont, Calif., from May 24-26. If he gets there, he’s expecting much better results than at last season’s meet at Ohio Wesleyan. Rindone placed 14th in the 100 (10.91), 11th in the 200 (21.91), 16th in the 4x400 (3:19.90) and his 4x100 relay team didn’t finish after dropping the baton.
“Unfortunately I didn’t run my best times, but I’ve put it behind me,” he said. “It’s good motivation. Hopefully I can get a couple of All-Americans under my belt this year.”
• Matt Beardmore writes a weekly On Campus column on area athletes competing in college. If you have a column idea, please contact him at email@example.com.