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Koski, left, holds off an opponent in the NCAA Division 1 race held in Stillwater, OK. Koski placed 99th in a field of 252 runners.

Former Park Falls cross-country, hockey, and track and field standout Kevin Koski was one of eight students named a scholar-athlete at Illinois State University on March 24, 2021. ISU is a Division 1 school located in Normal, Illinois, and is part of the Missouri Valley Conference. To be named a scholar-athlete student-athletes must finish as one of the first 20 runners at the conference championship meet, hold at least a 3.3 cumulative GPA, and be a sophomore or above. ISU combined for the most scholar-athletes in the MVC this season with six men and two women meeting the qualifying standards. This was the second time Koski earned the honor.

Even with COVID-19 practice restrictions imposed on ISU cross-country runners and others, as a Redbird and a redshirt senior, (Koski chose not to run cross-country during the fall 2019 season) he has been flying over CC courses in the 2020-21 season. He came in 5th at the Lipscomb Winter Classic with a time of 24:23.6, the first MVC runner to cross the finish line. He earned the MVC’s auto-bid to the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Cross Country Championship after winning the individual title in the men’s 8k at the conference meet, coming in at 24:21.1. He led the men’s team to the Valley’s first first-place conference finish since 2002. His individual title was the first of his career, and the first by an ISU runner since 2009. Subsequently, he was named MVC Athlete of the Year. To cap the cross-country season Koski competed at the NCAA Cross Country Championships held in Stillwater, Oklahoma. He finished the 10k course in the fastest time of his career, clocking in at 31:32.5, to place 99th overall in a field of 252.

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Park Falls native and Illinois State University senior Kevin Koski, holding trophy, and his cross country teammates pose following their Missouri Valley Conference 1st place win.

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Kevin Koski, Park Falls native, and Illinois State University men's cross-country team member poses with the Athlete of the Year trophy he earned following his 1st place individual finish in the Missouri Valley Conference race.

(Copyright © 2021 APG Media)

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