Van Grinsven brothers keep each other on track

By Garrett Aleckson —

Paul (Sr, Little Chute, Wis.) and Joe Van Grinsven (Fr, Little Chute, Wis.) are two brothers who have been running since a young age. The Van Grinsven brothers both are distance runners for the University of Wisconsin–Stout track and field team.

Paul and Joe are not the only members in their family to be involved in running. In fact, their parents had a big role in getting Paul interested in running.

“My dad and mom have always been huge role models for me; they were both talented runners in high school. They would tell us stories of their high school cross country and track days, so I think hearing those stories just really made me want to give it a try at a young age,” said Paul.

Their parents were role models for Joe, too. However, since Joe is younger, he mainly looked up to his older brother.

“Paul definitely had an influence on me. I always wanted to be like him when I was younger. He really got me into it and taught me a lot,” said Joe.

Although Paul and Joe got into running at a young age, they really didn’t have a lot of time to compete together.

“Having a four year age gap, we never really started going for runs together until my sophomore year here. He also competed at the Hershey’s track meet when he was young, but we were in different age groups,” said Paul.

Since Paul was able to compete for his fifth year, he knew there was an opportunity for them to actually compete together. “When I found out I would be competing at Stout for my fifth year after taking an internship, I knew there was a chance we could compete on the same team here,” said Paul.

Joe had a tough decision, in choosing where to attend college, but just as Paul influenced him to get into running, Paul influenced his decision to come to Stout.

“I’m not going to lie, Paul had a huge influence on my decision to attend Stout. We had never ran together on the same team, which we had always wished we could have. I couldn’t pass up that opportunity. Not only did I come because of Paul, but also seeing him grow during his time at Stout was something I wanted to experience. He had excelled in every way possible, and I knew that I could have the same thing happen to me,” said Joe.

When Joe decided to come to Stout, Paul was beyond excited.

“When he called me telling me he was coming to Stout, I got really pumped,” said Paul.

The brothers feel like they’ve helped each other improve. Paul feels that Joe has helped him improve just by being himself.

“I think I help Joe improve by sharing my experiences with him and help him see that anything is possible, if he buys into the program here. Joe tends to be very laid back and less nervous than I get for big meets, so he has helped me to relax a little more and just take in the moment rather than worry so much,” said Paul.

Joe says that Paul has a huge impact in his life on and off the track.

“Paul is always giving me advice. If I’m struggling in school, training or anything, he will help me out and give me the best advice he can. It’s always honest, and it’s always for the best of me,” said Joe.

Even if it’s for one year, Joe cannot stress how awesome it is to compete with his brother in college, saying:

“It is the coolest thing to be on the same team as Paul for the first time. We have never had this opportunity before, and now we are training together every day. He helps me out and is really there for me. I can definitely say that we have grown a lot closer in the past few months, and it is pretty awesome.“

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