Outlook Magazine - Fall 2020

SHORT BUT STILL SWEET Some seasons were canceled, but student athletes made memories time and again in 2019-20



t was a shorter than expected but eventful 2019-20 season for Blue Devil athletics.

Nelson Field, oldest on campus, gets a facelift and artificial turf

The start of the year included the soccer team playing the fall season on the road because of a Nelson Field renovation project. In the spring, the pandemic forced the cancellation of championship events for indoor track and field and gymnastics. Then, the softball, baseball and outdoor track and field seasons were canceled.


ain no longer should be a problem for Nelson Field and the Blue Devil women’s soccer team. UW-Stout’s longest continuously used recreational space, at the base of a hill, has never drained well. As a result, rain turned the field into a safety hazard. Numerous soccer games over the years were postponed or moved to a different facility. In spring 2019 things began to change for the better when Nelson Field was stripped of its sod. Work began in late summer 2019 to prepare for a new artificial surface, Sprinturf. A crown was removed and the field was widened and lengthened to meet NCAA specifications. The finishing touches for the project include a new press box, new LED lighting and new lighting on the adjacent track infield. “The decision to install artificial turf was based on two main factors,” said Athletic Director Duey Naatz, “improving the playing surface for the soccer team and providing more accessibility for other users, such as club, recreation and intramural activities.” The field, named after Burton Nelson, school president from 1923 to 1945, was developed in 1935 and has been used consistently every season since then. It was home to the Blue Devil football team from 1935 to 2001 and has been the women’s soccer team home field since 2001.

Despite these unprecedented challenges, Blue Devil athletes gave it their all. Highlights included:

Women’s Golf: Trystin Kluess and Madison McCambridge finished one-two in the WIAC meet, and the team took second. Cross Country: The men made a third consecutive trip to the NCAA Division III championship and were second at the WIAC meet, matching a school-best finish. Football: Defensive back Jed Schlegel, third team All-America, closed out his career with three interceptions in a 45-17 win over UW-Eau Claire. The team finished 4-6. Volleyball: Libero Steph Cannon was an All-WIAC selection, including defensive player of the year and Judy Kruckmann Scholar-Athlete honors. The Blue Devils finished 19-11. Hockey: After a more than 50-year association with the program, Terry Watkins retired as head coach. The Blue Devils finished 8-18-1. In June, Mike MacDonald was named the new head coach. He was assistant coach the past four seasons at Curry College in Massachusetts. Gymnastics: Shadae Boone, Brooke Terry, Britney Wolfe and Belle Ihde earned All-America honors. Women’s Basketball: The Blue Devils made the WIAC tournament but fell in the first round. Amber Fabeck and Shannan Watkins were All-WIAC. The team finished 15-11. Men’s Basketball: The Blue Devils ended the season winning at UW-Whitewater, 82-80. They finished 6-19. Track and Field: Record-setting pole vaulters Noah Zastrow and Heather Beecher, Kevin Ruechel (shot put) and Brent Heilman (200 meter) won WIAC indoor titles and qualified for the national meet. Scholar Athletes: Thirty-three seniors earned campus scholar athlete status, with nearly half of them posting 3.8 to 4.0 grade-point averages. Fall 2020: Because of COVID-19, the WIAC fall athletic seasons have been canceled.


FA L L 2 0 2 0

Made with FlippingBook Publishing Software