By Michael O'Brien

Pow-Wow's run is over

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Once the largest prep cross country meet in the nation, the Crete-Monee Pow-Wow is no more.

Crete-Monee athletic director Gene Cahan confirmed that the invitational won't be back for a 42nd year in 2010, citing the declining number of teams participating. The Pow-Wow field peaked at 71 teams in 1978, but has dropped into the 20s in recent years.

The meet's flighted format, which pits schools' No. 1 through 7 runners against their counterparts, was the brainchild of its founders, Art Manwaring and the late Jim Becker. Their goal was to offer a chance for more runners to be recognized than in standard invitationals.

Four eventual state champs - Sandburg's Tom Graves (1976), Belvidere's Don Volkey (1978), St. Ignatius' Mike Patton (1980) and Lockport's Jim Knudsen (1981) - ran in the Pow-Wow and Lockport's Tom Bellos set the meet record of 13:46.8 in 1984.

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What a shame! I cetainly had some fond memories of running there in the peak years of 78 and 79 at Aurora West H.S. At one time the meet was the place to be if you were anybody in the CC running scene! Why were they having trouble attracting teams in recent years?

I ran in the Pow Wow for 4 years in the 90's. Sad to see it going. Great event.

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