Two former Park stars lend a hand at alma mater

  • Article by: PATRICK JOHNSON , Special to the Star Tribune
  • Updated: July 12, 2014 - 3:58 PM

Two North Carolina track and field athletes haven’t forgotten their high school days with the Wolfpack.

hide

Two former Park of Cottage Grove athletes, R.J. Alowonle, left, and D’Monte Farley, are helping with its summer training program.

Photo: Bruce Bisping • bbisping@startribune.com,

CameraStar Tribune photo galleries

Cameraview larger

 

You can feel the buzz around Park of Cottage Grove High School.

R.J. Alowonle and D’Monte Farley attained star status at Park before graduating in 2012. Both qualified for the Minnesota state track and field meet in four events two consecutive years and nearly led a four-man Park team to state titles their junior and senior years.

Next season the duo will run together once again at the University of North Carolina. But first, the longtime friends took time this summer to coach at Park’s strength and conditioning summer camp.

Wolfpack strength and conditioning coach Justin Ellevold said he’s asked Alowonle and Farley to help him out the past two summers.

“They’re just very positive, influential young men,” Ellevold said. “For our kids to see them here working out and helping me out is a win-win for everyone involved.”

Park’s strength and conditioning summer program runs all day long four days a week for boys and girls in middle school through their senior year.

Jake Goecke, who will be a Park freshman this fall, said he’s well aware of Alowonle and Farley and what they’ve accomplished.

“To see them here helps motivate me,” said Goecke, who plays soccer and is a downhill skier. “They don’t have to do this at all. It’s really cool to see them come back here to help us. They’re pretty amazing.”

Alowonle and Farley have always had pride in Park and said they feel the need to give back to their alma mater.

“I remember, growing up, seeing the athletes that worked hard in high school and seeing their results from that,” Alowonle said. “They gave me insight and advice and I really took that to heart.”

Alowonle won seven state championships, shattered two long-standing records and is regarded as one of the state’s best prep track athletes ever.

More recently, he finished fifth in the nation in the 400-meter hurdles for North Carolina, earning his third All-American honor in two seasons with the Tar Heels.

“The kids know us and I think they respected us when we were here,” Alowonle said. “The coaches and teachers at Park did so much for me, I’m just honored to come back and help however I can.”

Farley will rejoin his buddy at North Carolina this coming school year. The past two years, Farley excelled for North Dakota, earning All-America honors in the triple jump as a freshman and recording the second-best school mark in the event as a sophomore.

At Park, he won a state championship along with being named all-state three years and winning numerous Suburban East Conference and section championship titles in the triple jump, long jump, 100- and 200-meter dashes.

Ellevold said he likes to bring back former student-athletes to help them shift from a high school environment to a real-world setting. He said he remembered his first job after high school, as a commercial roofer, wasn’t much fun.

“By involving kids in my summer program it allows them to build some real-world skills like being able to communicate and multi-task, things they’re going to need to do in their careers and jobs,” he said.

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

Houston - D. Keuchel 12:05 PM
NY Yankees - B. McCarthy
Cleveland - C. Kluber 12:10 PM
Minnesota - P. Hughes
Detroit - D. Price 12:10 PM
Tampa Bay - A. Cobb
Arizona - W. Miley 3:05 PM
Washington - G. Gonzalez
San Francisco - LP: R. Vogelsong 0 Suspended
Chicago Cubs - WP: T. Wada 2
Atlanta - J. Teheran 6:10 PM
Cincinnati - D. Holmberg
LA Angels - M. Shoemaker 6:10 PM
Boston - R. De La Rosa
San Francisco - M. Bumgarner 7:05 PM
Chicago Cubs - T. Wood
San Diego - T. Ross 9:10 PM
Los Angeles - C. Kershaw
Pittsburgh 6:30 PM
Philadelphia
Carolina 8/22/14 6:30 PM
New England
NY Giants 8/22/14 6:30 PM
NY Jets
Jacksonville 8/22/14 6:30 PM
Detroit
Oakland 8/22/14 7:00 PM
Green Bay
Chicago 8/22/14 9:00 PM
Seattle
Tampa Bay 8/23/14 3:30 PM
Buffalo
Tennessee 8/23/14 6:00 PM
Atlanta
Dallas 8/23/14 6:00 PM
Miami
Washington 8/23/14 6:30 PM
Baltimore
New Orleans 8/23/14 7:00 PM
Indianapolis
Minnesota 8/23/14 7:00 PM
Kansas City
St. Louis 8/23/14 7:00 PM
Cleveland
Houston 8/23/14 8:00 PM
Denver
San Diego 8/24/14 3:00 PM
San Francisco
Cincinnati 8/24/14 7:00 PM
Arizona
Montreal 8/22/14 7:30 PM
Winnipeg
Toronto 8/23/14 3:00 PM
Edmonton
Calgary 8/24/14 2:00 PM
Ottawa
Saskatchewan 8/24/14 6:00 PM
Brt Columbia
Ottawa 8/29/14 6:30 PM
Montreal
Washington 6:00 PM
Indiana
San Antonio 8:00 PM
Minnesota

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: Who would you rather have on your team?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close