On an average NCAA Division III cross-country team, Tim Semmen would have run varsity from the moment he was a member of the team.
On some, the Woodstock graduate would have even been named the schools most valuable runner.
But, Luther College is far from the average NCAA Division III cross-country team. Two of the years that Semmen was on the team, the Norse qualified for the nationals. The other two years, they finished in the top six in their regional. They were also in the top three in the Iowa Intercollegiate Athletic Conference every year that Semmen was on the team.
“It was exciting to be on a team that good,” said Semmen. “Competition was always in the air even at practice. It helped us become as good as we were. It drove us to be better. It helped improve me a great deal and made me a better runner.”
Semmen helped Luther finish in the top three of the Junior Varsity Cup Race two times in his career. As a freshman, he would help them take third with 72 points. Individually, Semmen turned in a time of 27 minutes, 1.7 seconds for the 8,000-meter race. Two years later, he took 15th in the same race, finishing in 27:12.1. Luther would take second in 2014 with 45 points. He helped Luther win the Iowa Intercollegiate Athletic Conference junior varsity team title.
“The cup race during my freshman season was one of the best races of my career, and it came along at the right time,” said Semmen. “I did not have a great freshman year. I ran that race a little bit different and went out a little more aggressively than I normally do. It was the fastest time of my freshman year.”
In addition to his efforts in the JV Cup, the former Blue Streak runner also helped Luther take fourth in the St. Mary’s University Open. He finished 32nd in the race. He finished the 6,000-meter race in 25:00.3.
The son of Kim and David Semmen of Woodstock earned a degree in biology in May. He also earned a minor in religion.
“I’m going to miss running cross-country for Luther,” said Semmen. “What I will miss is the long, slow distance runs with the other runners. Those were really fun. I was injured during my sophomore year and that was not fun. I always seemed to have a midseason slump as well. I was good at the beginning of the year and at the end, but in the middle, I struggled at times.”
At the present time, Semmen is seeking a full-time job, hopefully in a lab. But, within the next two years, he plans to attend graduate school. Eventually, he wants to go into epidemiology, which is the study of diseases. He would like to work in the field of public health and focus on diseases.
Dan Chamness covers the college careers of Woodstock-area athletes.