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ISSUE 119 VOL 14 PUBLISHED 3/17/2006

Tostrud plays host to excellence

By Ryan Maus
Sports Editor

Friday, March 17, 2006

For those of you still wondering why you were denied your weekend workout in Tostrud Center, or why your dinner last Thursday consisted of Dominoes Pizza and Coca Cola, be assured that the cause was a worthy one. On Friday and Saturday, St. Olaf’s Tostrud and Skoglund fieldhouses played host to the NCAA Division III Indoor Track and Field Championships.

The Oles were represented by two outstanding athletes at the home meet: Women’s weight thrower Stacy Griffin ‘07 and men’s shot putter Pete Cathcart ‘06.

Griffin, who qualified for the weight throw event with a season-best 50’ 10” toss at the MIAC Championships on March 3, competed in the first preliminary heat on Friday evening. Griffin set a personal record by throwing 51’ 0.25,”, earning a 12th place finish overall.

Cathcart entered the meet having achieved All-American status in the event twice previously. He made the All-American cut once again this year by finishing eighth overall in a deep field.

A raucus home crowd supported the popular, who was fifth out of the preliminaries, but slipped to eighth after the final round was completed. Cathcart’s best throw of the afternoon was 54’ 6.5.”

“It was great to have all the support there,” Cathcart said. “It is a memory I will never forget ... definitely one of the best moments of my life.”

This weekend’s two-day event featured over 400 athletes from around the country, 2,300 spectators, 250 coaches and over 140 volunteer officials.

Meet director and Associate Professor of Physical Education professor Gary Wicks said that the event was a resounding success on many different levels.

“The meet went extremely well,” Wicks said. “Everything flowed relatively smoothly, and Tostrud is simply an outstanding facility in which to host such an event. Hosting [the national championships] really allowed St. Olaf to showcase this first-class building.”

Athletic Director Matt McDonald also recognized the value of hosting a national meet at St. Olaf.

“As a member of the NCAA Division III community, we were more than happy to provide this service to our fellow institutions,” McDonald said. “Hosting an event like this also gives the college some welcome exposure.”

St. Olaf has played host to numerous national championship events over the past few years, including the Division III wrestling national championships last winter and the 2002 Division III cross country nationals.

Wicks also said that the college is currently contemplating whether or not to host another national athletic event in the near future.

“We’re not opposed to submitting future bids for competitions,” Wicks said. “We now have a national repuation for hosting well-run large-scale championship events.”

In addition, Wicks expressed his gratitute towards the student body for their patronage and patience during the weekend.

“I really want to thank all of our students for cooperating with both the food service circumstances last Thursday and the weekend shutdown of Tostrud and Skoglund,” Wicks said. “We couldn’t have pulled this off without their support.”

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