The list of Gregg Newell Award winners for top Quad-City Times Bix 7 male Quad-City finisher has played like a broken record over the last five years, with Tim Hird and Charlie Paul alternating victories.
Ethan Adlfinger changed the tune Saturday, taking home the trumpet trophy for the first time after a few years of close calls.
The Milan native was the 18th overall male finisher Saturday with a time of 36 minutes, 22 seconds. He finished 15 seconds ahead of Bettendorf native Devin Allbaugh, a Pleasant Valley grad who ran at Iowa State and Minnesota State-Mankato.
While Adlfinger broke up one trend, he kept another going. His win marks the fifth time in eight years an Alleman grad and former or current North Central College runner has won the Newell Award, which is named after the only Quad-City resident to even win the Bix 7. Nathaniel Hird was the award's first recipient in 2009 and brother Tim Hird won three of the last five years.
“It felt good. It’s the one I haven’t won in the Quad-Cities, but I’ve been close,” Adlfinger said. “I went to high school with the Hirds and we all go to college together so I know them pretty well and it’s kind of cool to keep the Alleman and North Central College tradition going.”
As has been the case the past several years, Adlfinger was among a sizable contingent of current North Central runners who competed in the Bix 7. Dan O’Keefe will take back bragging rights to Naperville, Illinois, after being the top NCC finisher in a time of 36:11.
“It’s nice just having guys around to race with,” said Adlfinger, who finished 13th in the steeplechase in the Division III National Championships as a junior this past season. “We’ll look for each other, try to catch up, work together in the middle of races, push each other, just to have better times for each other.”
Adlfinger, who repeated as the Firecracker Run 10K champion on the Fourth of July, has a previous Bix 7 win to his name. He won the inaugural High School Challenge in 2013 after his senior year at Alleman.
He thinks winning the Newell is probably his Bix ceiling.
“I’ll never win the actual Bix 7, so I guess this will be the next best thing,” Adlfinger said.