|Home at last
By Mike Dauplaise ’84
Track hosts its first outdoor meet in more than 30 years.
|800-meter star Emily Schudrowitz ’12 will finish out her St. Norbert career running in front of a home crowd.
The last time St. Norbert hosted an outdoor track and field meet at its own facility, Ronald Reagan hadn’t yet earned the Republican nomination for president.
That 1980 meet against Ripon College featured the outdated cinder track at Minahan Stadium on the grounds of the De Pere abbey. St. Norbert hosted meets at several area high schools in later years, but indoor meets at the Schuldes Sports Center were the only true “home” competitions.
That is about to change this spring, as the Green Knights will host three outdoor meets – including the Midwest Conference Outdoor Championships on May 11-12 – at the new Donald J. Schneider Stadium. The first meet is set for April 5 against Michigan Tech and Northern Michigan, with the St. Norbert College Invitational scheduled for April 21.
“I’m really excited about it,” says Emily Schudrowitz ’12, the 2010 national indoor 800-meter champion. “For my senior year, this means we get to finish the regular season at our own track. Our parents and fellow students will be able to watch, and it’ll be great to have local support.”
The teams squeezed in practice time at the West De Pere High School track in previous years, meaning prep competitions and physical education classes trumped the workout needs of St. Norbert athletes.
“Instead of working around their schedule, now we have one of the nicest tracks that you can run on in the state,” notes long sprinter Ryan Ascher ’12. “It’s nice that our stadium is close to campus. Everyone is able to go on their own schedule, within their event groups, without having to go to the high school as one big group and hope the high school isn’t using it.”
In addition to the all-weather, eight-lane track, Schneider Stadium features a fully functional athletics training facility, locker-room space for 120 athletes, a coaches’ office and laundry services.
“The kids on the team are really excited about having home meets,” says head coach Don Augustine. “Typically, we were traveling two hours minimum to get somewhere to compete. Now we’ll be able to wake up in the morning, be here and have the support of students on campus, along with faculty, staff and parents.”
Augustine says the stadium provides benefits on multiple levels, including training, competition and recruiting. “The ability to practice on our own schedule is the single biggest advantage for us so far,” Augustine says. “We’re able to go down to the stadium and be isolated, and do what we need to do. From a practice standpoint, it’s awesome. The advantage to recruiting is the ‘wow’ factor. It’s another thing on campus where kids’ eyes light up.”
March 22, 2012