The kickoff to the 30th Anniversary Highmark QUAD Games got a jolt to the Corporate world when the faculty and staff of theIroquoisSchool District rocked the EUP swim hall to take an upset win in the Corporate Competition.
“It wasn’t an upset to us,” said Dr. Thad Urban, Principal at Iroquois Elementary, “we had a good turnout, trained hard for the swim and always thought we had a chance.”
In a competition that has in past years been dominated by larger companies like General Electric andSaint Vincent, Iroquois was small but mighty and had the advantage of a secret weapon and some QUAD History.
One element of the history came in the form of Dr. Urban, the 35 year old Iroquois Elementary Principal. In a QUAD Games Galaxy that was seemingly Long Ago and Faraway, Dr. Urban was himself an elementary student at McKean Elementary under the tutelage of QUAD Games Superstar Pat Davis. Davis, then a physical education teacher at McKean was innovative in her encouragement of children to participate in life sports like the QUAD Games and was one of the first elementary teachers in the region to get kids on cross-country skis. Those lessons resonated with Dr. Urban who has initiated a number of employee and student health programs since arriving at Iroquois in 2009.
Along with Thad’s healthy back story, Iroquois had another connection to QUAD History: Bob North. A check of the QUAD Results button at www.highmarkquad.org will reveal that in 1989 the overall men’s swim champion was Bob North who later that summer swam acrossLake Erie with his friend, long-time QUAD participant Harvey Snell.
Leading a great turnout of thirteen other Iroquois staff and faculty, North showed he hadn’t lost much in the more than two decades since his QUAD swim championship. Bob shot through the water in a time of 54.43 for the 100 yard swim.
Beside producing in the race itself, Bob spent a good bit of time coaching any staff that was determined enough to meet in the high school pool at 6 A.M. for a work-out before work. In true team spirit, most mornings would find an Iroquois Brave faculty member in each lane as Bob called out the workouts. The team unity and determination paid off with The Championship of the Corporate Competition over twenty-two other teams entered.
The top four swimmers for the winning Braves squad were North at 54:43, Michael Kujawinski, 1:00.89, Stephanie Komorek 1:02.33 and Rebecca Eberly 1:07.02.
Is this a one time upset or the start of a Championship season for Team Iroquois?
“We’re going to have to find some bikes somewhere,” says Dr. Urban. “I haven’t really ridden a bike since I got my drivers license but as Iroquois Braves we’re determined to do our best.”