Nancy Gritt ’92 was one of the competitors in the Alumni Invitational, held April 21.
Alex DeVillers ’11 and Mackenzie Laska ’11 competed in the steeplechase.
On the home page: Justin Johnson ’15 holds the college's current record for the 110-meter hurdles.
Home track levels the field
It’s been a journey for the St. Norbert College track and field team. With no home track to call its own, the team’s every meet has been an away meet.
The Green Knights haven’t had a track facility to call home for more than three decades, since the cinder Imperial-measured track at Minahan Stadium fell into obsolescence. The opening of Schneider Stadium for track use this spring means the end of a nonstop traveling schedule for track and field and gives the college’s participants in that sport an on-campus facility for practice and competition.
St. Norbert hosted its first on-campus meet since the Carter administration with a small meet against Northern Michigan University and Michigan Tech University on April 5. The Green Knights then hosted a 12-team invitational on April 21, which included about 25 of the program’s alumni competing. They included past national champions Ben Dreyer ’03 and Colin McKean ’05. St. Norbert will also host the Midwest Conference Outdoor Championship on May 11-12.
“We didn’t even realize what a benefit it was to run at home until the following week (after April 5) when we had to leave at 6:30 a.m. to go to Wisconsin Lutheran,” St. Norbert head track and field coach Don Augustine says. “You can sleep in at home and when you’re done, you’re done. There’s no long bus ride home.
“There were a lot of familiar faces in the stands at our first meet, and a lot of faculty representation. It was great to see.”
Schneider Stadium’s track and field layout means all events can be held within sight of each other. The hammer, javelin and discus throws are located to the west of the track, while the shot put is held on the stadium’s front lawn near Lost Dauphin Road.
“It is closer to a real stadium than anywhere else we compete,” Augustine says. “The whole layout adds to it. Everything is in close proximity. Some places you have to walk a couple of blocks because they don’t have the space we do. It’s a big advantage we have over some other venues.”
The stadium’s physical appearance has also proven attractive to student-athletes and prospective recruits due to its matching many of the buildings on the main campus.
“I love the fact that the facility matches the other buildings on campus with the brick design,” says Emily Schudrowitz ’12, herself a national champion. “It definitely has a high-quality look about it that a lot of places don’t have.”
St. Norbert’s student-athletes reap the benefits of the new facility, which includes the locker-room and training-room facility that opened this past summer. Instead of commuting from locker rooms at Schuldes Sports Center, everyone can dress and seek treatment on site.
“The whole stadium is pretty impressive,” Brent Schreiber ’12 says. “I’d say I like the locker rooms the best, they are huge and spacious. It gives the track team a sense of belonging and importance.”
Above all else, the new facility should give St. Norbert’s track and field athletes, both past and present, a renewed sense of pride in the program.
“It is great to see things like ‘St. Norbert College’ on all of our hurdles or ‘SNC’ painted on the infield,” Schudrowitz says. “We are definitely proud of our new facility and look forward to sharing it with parents, friends and alumni.”