The New Washington community is excited about the cross country state finals birth of senior Olivia Graebe, but there is a resident of Evansville who equally shares some of that enthusiasm. 1990 graduate Glenna Bower will get some well deserved company on the mustang cross country hall of fame. No longer is Bower the lone cross country state finalist as New Washington has another plaque to place on the wall next to Bower’s.
“I am really excited for her and the community. It is big and she should be very proud of herself,” said Bower. New Washington residents can recall many fond memories of Bower who also exceled at track and basketball. Bower led the state of Indiana in scoring 35 points a game her senior year. She graduated and headed to Eastern Kentucky U iversity to run and sat out for one year of basketball. She then transfered to the University of Southern Indiana to run and play college basketball.
Bower clearly recalls her state cross country experiences and is happy to hear Graebe will get to experience something special of her own. Bower recalled the experience was valuable to her as it gave her a chance to compete against the best in the state and show she belonged with the states elite.
“Even though I received my first loss at state I can honestly say I gave it all I had when I walked off the course or track. It was a great feeling to represent New Washington. I had a lot of support which is something you never forget,” recalled Bower.
Bower now teaches at her alma mater the University of Southern Indiana and mentors her students in how to plan and organize up to four races a year. While knee surgery prevents her from running as she used to she takes pleasure in helping her students acheive joy from her favored sport.
“My students have a running series in Evansville and they have raised more than $35,000 for scholarships from these races. I do what I can do to stay involved with running. If I can’t compete I can provide a venue for others to do what I loved doing for years,” she said.
Graebe will be in the thouhts and minds of many this Saturday and all wish her well.”My advice to Olivia is to relax and run her race. She only has this one chance to make it happen so she needs to leave everything on the course. Give it all she has and everything else will take care of itself,” explained Bower. “I wish her the best of luck!”
While the two have never met, after Saturday they will have an experience that only they will truly understand. They will know what it takes to to be among and compete against the states elite runners.
“I often think about New Washington and realize I would not be where I am at today without so many of the wondeful teachers, staff, and community members who supported me in athletics and academics. I didnt realize my life would move more towards academics but it did and has allowed me to give back to students,” recalled Bower.