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Delivering News From The Source

The Rise

By: Chasen Selsor

­­In many cases something great has to be changed in order to create that next step that makes all the difference.

This is exactly what Waldorf University did back in the April of 2014 by building a new track and field facility that stretched around the Bolstorff football field. It was then finished in August of 2014. The additions included an eight lane track, areas for field events, a new scoreboard and upgrades to the facility’s concession stands.

The facility was named Beebe Track in honor of Ray and Jan Beebe for their donations to the university, local school district and the community. It was dedicated to their name in April of 2015. In order for this astonishing project to be fulfilled it took a little over $1 million. It was a shared facilities project amongst Waldorf University, Forest City Community School District, the YMCA, the city of Forest City, the Hanson Family Foundation and the Worth County Economic Development Authority.

The massive project was created by the Chicago City, Minnesota- based contractor Peterson Companies, Inc. The eight lane track circles the football field while areas for pole

vault, long jump, triple jump and shot put competitions were built on the southern side of Bolstorff Field along John K. Hanson Drive. A second shot put section is also located west of the field’s press box.

Since then, Waldorf University’s track and field program along with cross country has grown exponentially in the last couple of years. The new facility for both track and field has opened the eyes for new recruits who come on campus tours in search to continue their running careers. It was even exciting for cross country athletes who helped start the beginning years of the track and field program.

Senior Adam Brinkman is one of those athletes who still competing till this day. “Seeing the new facility being built to it being finished was super exciting to see as cross country and track athlete,” Brinkman said, “and I thought it was exciting for the program.” When this new facility was built there were only eight men and seven women on the track and field team with one of the eight being Brinkman. “It has brought in a lot more student- athletes to the school to help build the program,” Brinkman said. In the spring of 2016 Waldorf University had held its first home track meet along with hosting its first conference championship.

“It was cool to finally be able to host our first home track meet ever in Waldorf history,” Brinkman said.

Former Coach Kelsey Riggins who was in the process of being hired at the time the facility was being finished. “The fact they were getting a new track was really exciting,” Riggins said. Riggins had become the head coach after former head Coach Kendrick Clay had resigned. Recruiting is a huge role as a collegiate coach and the new facility helped with that. “We were able to go after a bigger caliber of athletes,” Riggins said, “and also being able to host big events like the conference championship was really big.”

“I really like the wide lanes, especially for hurdling events and long distance races,” Riggins said.

With the facility now, the program has been continuously growing and many positive comments have arose. Former Athletic Director of Waldorf University, Bart Gray was extremely happy with how the facility turned out. “It was probably one of the better constructed tracks I’ve seen,” Gray said, “and as the program grows it can be a really healthy thing in terms of numbers.” Gray was also happy because with a track program and a track for them to train on, the athletes can now have a chance to qualify for huge events like the Drake Relays. Then once Waldorf athletes make it their people will look and see that Waldorf University is really making something out of their track and field program which will then draw in bigger numbers.

“All together the facility was a home run,” Gray said.

The program has gone through a number of coaching changes but now has Coach Nathan Christianson who is originally from Charles City, Iowa. For his first semester as the Waldorf University head coach he is enjoying every bit of the new facility. “I’ve never really had a facility so I was just excited to have one,” Christianson said, “and for recruiting, it helps pull in some better athletes.” With the track being new and softer than some, it is great for training purposes because it does not beat the athletes up as bad.

“Everything we have is really nice and the most attractable feature is the soft track to keep athletes from getting banged up,” Christianson said.

Some of the rules that were stated when the facility was first built are still in effect to this day. There is no smoking or alcohol use in the fenced- in area of the facility and pets are not allowed on the stadium grounds. Public however is allowed to us the track when games or practices are not taking place.

All in all, the facility has brought remarkable success to both the cross country and track and field program and is showing no sign of slowing down. The cross country team has brought home two different championships this season so that clearly makes a statement on the programs’ growth.

“I’m really proud of all the kids who took the chance with the school’s new track team and watching the program grow from a start,” Coach Riggins said.