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Two All-American Track and Field Performances from St. Norbert

Lauren Rottier runs the 300 hurdles at the 2023 NCAA Division III Outdoor Track and Field Championships at St. John Fisher University in Pittsford, New York.

By Tori Wittenbrock

Sports Reporter

DE PERE- At the NCAA DIII Outdoor Track and Field Championships held on May 25 and 26 at St. John Fisher University’s Polisseni Track and Field Complex, St. Norbert College registered two All-American performances by female athletes for the first time since 2010.

Lauren Rottier and Sydney Spaeth traveled to Rochester, New York, for one of the biggest competitions of their collegiate career, ultimately living up to the task and performing well enough to earn their first All-American honors.


“I started track and field in seventh grade because our middle school had a team and at the introduction meeting, the coaches showed videos of the field events and I thought they looked really fun,” said Rottier about her start in track and field.

The Seymour native placed sixth overall in the heptathlon, totaling an impressive 4,926 points, ultimately setting fresh records for St. Norbert College and the Northern Athletics Collegiate Conference.

“It was intimidating being at the NCAA Championship. Everyone you talk to is one of the top performers in their events, and it’s the meet to showcase all of the work you have put in all year. I was very nervous,” said Rottier.

From the moment Rottier opened her first event, she was ready to perform.

She had a solid first day, ending with 2,943 points: 788 points in the 100-meter hurdles (15.41 seconds); 712 points in high jump (5’2.25” clearance); 659 points in shot put (39-3 ¼), which was the best mark of the day for all the contestants, and 784 points in the 200-meter dash (26.15 seconds).

“The first four events I did, I hit good marks that I knew were on par to get me a new school record. Going into Day 2, I was getting more nervous knowing it was the day everything would be final and knowing I was going to have to run the 800. I knew I was going to have to run my fastest 800 ever to get on the podium, but as soon as the gun went off and I started running, I just had a clear head and a goal to make the podium. I was in absolute disbelief when I crossed the finish line and saw my time (a new best time by 8 seconds) and final placing. After 5 years of training for this event, ‘rewarding’ doesn’t even begin to explain the level of accomplishment I felt.”

Rottier carried this motivation into the second day of the meet.

Starting Day 2 in sixth place, she earned 703 points in the long jump with 18’1”.

In the penultimate event, she earned 619 points in javelin with a throw of 122-11.

In her final event of the day, Rottier rounded out her performance with 661 points in the 800-meter run with a time of 2:32.60.

Rottier said that her love of track and field extends beyond the time spent competing.

“There are so many opportunities to compete and do a lot of different things. You don’t have to focus on one small part of the sport, you can do as many things as you want.”

Rottier’s performance as a fifth-year senior earned her the ability to qualify as an All-American athlete.

However, Rotter said that her success has not come without sacrifice.

“My training is intense, there are seven events I need to be able to do well so I would usually have two practices a day and lifts twice a week. I had to sacrifice a lot of late night hangout sessions with my friends because I would have to wake up early for practice or I needed to get my school work done.”

Rottier said that throughout her collegiate career, her parents have been her biggest supporters.

“Practices and meets get stressful and exhausting, but they are always there to cheer me on,” said Rottier.

Yet, Rottier also said that they are not the only ones that have been in her corner along the way.

“My heptathlon coach has always been a positive influence on me. She always reminds me that I don’t always need to be the best… I just need to do my best. Coach Krug has made a huge impact on my outlook as an athlete. She was always very understanding that her athletes have lives outside of track and that needs to be our priority just as much as track.”

Rottier is a biology major at St. Norbert College, and has plans to one day become a pathologist assistant in a hospital pathology lab, though she said that has not always been the plan.

“When I was in middle school and high school I wanted to be a physical therapist, but really found an interest in lab work in college, so my career interests changed.”

Although her time in college athletics is coming to an end, Rottier said she is excited to see what the future holds for her and her career.


“The most important lesson I have learned from this sport is to not be afraid of failure. There were times where I would be hesitant to set goals because I did not know if they were out of reach and I was scared to fail. This year I found that setting my goals high forced me to be confident and hold myself to such a higher standard.”

Sydney Spaeth from West Bend earned her first All American honor by placing eighth overall in triple jump, still retaining two outdoor and one indoor season of collegiate athletic eligibility.

Spaeth is a mathematics and economics double major, while working for West Bend Mutual Insurance Company in their actuarial department as a Personal Lines Rating Configuration Specialist.

Sydney Spaeth makes her attempt at long jump. Submitted Photo

“That has definitely changed since I was little. I wanted to be an anesthesiologist. My freshman year of college, I was in both a chemistry class and a math class. I found that I loved spending hours at night working on my math homework, so I decided to switch my major to mathematics. My sophomore year, I took an economics class for fun and absolutely loved it, so I picked up that major as well.”

Despite her apparent success, Spaeth’s experience with track and field did not start until just a few years ago.

“I started track & field my freshman year of high school. I was 15 years old at the time. I had done high jump in my middle school gym class and really enjoyed it, but was hesitant to join the track team because I really did not enjoy running at the time. My dad had signed up to be the assistant coach so he encouraged me to join and give it a try,” said Spaeth.

In the preliminaries, Spaeth posted a mark which would secure her advancement to the finals, which was 39-7 ¾ on her third attempt.

Only the top nine places would advance, and each would see no changes in the standings during the entirety of the final three rounds.

On her first jump, Spaeth earned a 38-11 mark, and a 39-7 ¾ on both her second and third attempts.

“It was an unreal experience. There was a combination of so many different emotions that I experienced. When I hit the 12.08 mark in prelims, I knew it put me in a spot that could get to finals, but was not a guarantee.”

“There are always individual goals you are working towards, but you have your teammates there to support you and help you reach those goals. This year specifically, we were trying to move up in the national rankings for long jump, so my teammates and I were always pushing each other to better our jumps,” said Spaeth.

After advancing to the finals, Spaeth earned a mark of 39-4 after scratching on her previous two attempts.

With a final distance of 18-7 ¾, Spaeth wound up finishing 10th.

In long jump, she was heartbreakingly bumped from the finals after her final jump in the last heat of preliminaries.

When it came to the three jump sequence, Spaeth first fouled, then hit the 18-7 ¾ mark, then reached 18-2 ¼ in her third and final attempt.

“After I jumped it was such a mix of emotions because I was so excited to finally accomplish this huge goal of mine, but I also knew I had just finished my last college competition, and that was a difficult pill for me to swallow.”

Spaeth said that she would not be where she is today without her family as her biggest supporters.

“My entire family has been extremely supportive of my journey through college athletics. My parents attended every single meet they could make it to. They were always there to cheer me and the entire team on,” said Spaeth.

“I worked most closely with my jumps coach, Randy Hill. He always knew I had the potential, but I did not see it in myself. He worked with me constantly trying to help me recognize the potential I had and really helped build my confidence.”

Spaeth said, however, that getting where she is today has not come easily.

“The summer after my sophomore year, I fell into a slump and lost my love of the sport and my motivation to train hard. I forced myself to push myself during every single work out and lifting session. I came back my junior year so much stronger both physically and mentally.”

“The off-season training requires so much discipline. That’s the time where you build a foundation for the next season. Off-season is difficult because it is hard to push yourself when you are only running against yourself and the clock. There is no one there to chase after or hold you accountable. You have to want it and put in the work,” said Spaeth.

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