Freshmen - Highland, IL - Highland
Dan Strackeljahn is one of Eastern’s most accomplished middle distance runners. Emerging from Highland, Illinois, “Strack” was a top Illinois prep by placing 5th in the 2002 IHSA State meet in the 1600m with a time of 4:14.32. After earning all-conference honors as a freshman at the OVC cross country meet (25:44), he broke his foot by falling down the stairs in Stevenson while coming back from studying for finals. As a result of his injury, he sat out his freshman track season. The following track season, Strack won the indoor OVC mile (4:13.06) and set an indoor PR of 4:08 at Notre Dame. After falling in the finals of the mile run at indoor OVCs his 3rd year at EIU, he went on to win his first 1500 title in the spring. He continued his winning ways by winning the Kansas Relays in the 1500 and qualified for regionals with a time of 3:47.32 in 2006. He also won another OVC 1500 crown that spring.
His final track season in a EIU jersey was by far his best. He finished 3rd at the Indiana Invite in a time of 4:08.65 and followed that up with a 4th place finish at Iowa State in the 3k in a PR of 8:09.41 and just narrowly missing the school record. He then took another assault at the mile school record at the Friday Night Special. After the rabbit dropped off at 800 meters, Strack was forced to finish the race by himself. While he finished 15 seconds ahead of his nearest competitor, his 4:07, a PR at the time, was just off the field house record and school record. The following weekend, he went on to win another pair of gold medals at the OVC meet in the mile and DMR. Again, Strackeljahn traveled to South Bend in search of a school record and a ticket to NCAAs. Along with Dave Holm, Brenton Pegues, and Chris Wesson, Dan obliterated the DMR school record of 9:53.3 from 1979 with a time of 9:45.00. When he arrived the next day, he was disappointed to find he was placed in the slowest of three heats despite having faster times than many of the competitors in faster heats. Fortusteeplewebly, an athlete from Columbia was rabbiting the race. He won his heat by 3 seconds in another PR of 4:04.72 and placed 4th overall after a slow second heat and a massive pileup in the fast heat. His outdoor season started off a bit shaky. Despite winning the DMR at the Georgia Relays, he suffered from a foot injury. After taking several weeks off, he resumed his training by placing 2nd at the Vanderbilt Invite over 3000 meters. He placed 2nd in the 1500 meters at the OVC meet in a season best time of 3:53. The following weekend he went up to North Central looking for his regional qualifying mark. Despite excellent pacing by teammate Brad Runnion, Strack feel short of his goal and turned in a seasonal best of 3:49. He boarded a plane the next day to head to New York in a last ditch attempt to his the regional mark of 3:47. Despite his efforts, he ran another 3:49.
Although he did not qualify for regionals, he kept training and racing with the goal of making USATF Nationals. He ran a mile in Nashville, Tennessee with a time 4:02.28 as a tune-up for a meet a few weeks down the line. Strackeljahn headed over to Indiana University to run the 1500 at the Big Red Invite. Strackeljahn clocked a 3:43.94 and in the process obliterate the school record. Dan currently teaches industrial technology at Minooka High School while training with his eye on a sub 4 mile and qualifying for the Olympic Trials.
Strackeljahn’s Career Highlights
2007 OVC Indoor Track Athlete of the Year
2002 & 2005 OVC All-Conference Cross Country (9th and 3rd)
Five Time OVC Champ
2005 Kansas Relays Champ 1500
Two Time NCAA Regional Qualifier
Indoor Track & Field
Outdoor Track & Field