Joe Runkel has hurdled his way into the John Carroll University Hall of Fame.
The former three-sport St. John Central star will be inducted into the Blue Streaks' HOF this coming weekend at the suburban Cleveland campus. Runkel enjoyed a sparkling four-year track career at John Carroll.
The long-legged hurdler capped his Blue Streaks' career in grand style, qualifying for the NCAA Division III Championships and earning All-American accolades with an eighth place finish in the 1991 national finals in the 110-meter hurdles.
Runkel was also a national qualifier in the 110-meter hurdles in 1990.
A four-time letterwinner in track, Runkel was the 1990 Ohio Athletic Conference outdoor champion in the 110-meter high hurdles, the 1991 OAC indoor champion in the 55-meter indoor hurdles and the 1991 outdoor champion in the 110 high hurdles. He broke a 15-year-old school hurdles record in 1990 to qualify for nationals.
Runkel's 14.62 clocking in the 110 hurdles remains a JCU record.
"I think it is great honor. I am excited to be be going back to John Carroll," he said. "I have a lot of great memories from there and going into the school's hall of fame is very humbling."
At St. John Central, Runkel was a big-play wide receiver for Coach Bob Eaton Green gridders. The Irish went 9-1 in Runkel's senior season, losing only to Linsly.
The 6-5 post also starred in basketball for Eaton, averaging some 20 points a game as a senior in 1987, earning all-OVAc honors.
With his combination of height, speed and athleticism, hurdles and Runkel were a perfect track marriage. He still holds the Irish school records in both hurdling events, with sizzling clockings of 38.9 in the 300 hurdles and 14.6 in the 110 highs. He capped his illustrious SJC career in 1987 by finishing third in the state track meet in both hurdling events.
After picking up his John Carroll diploma, Runkel earned his master's degree in engineering from the Rochester Institute of Technology in New York. He later earned his MBA from the University of Arkansas.
Runkel, now 44, resides in Mobile, Ala. He is director of Financial Analysis for Austal, a ship building company for the U.S. Navy. He has lived in Mobile for the past 11 years.
His wife, Kim, is a Las Vegas native. They have no children.
His parents - Jim and Marcia Runkel - still reside in Colerain.