2001, 2002 National Champion Women's Track and Field Teams To Be Inducted Into Hall of Fame
Doane College's 2012 Athletic Hall of Fame celebration will honor two of the most dominant teams in Tiger history - the NAIA national track and field outdoor champions in the women's program, who in 2001 claimed Doane's first-ever national team championship in any sport, and repeated the feat in 2002.
Athletic Hall of Fame begins with a noon banquet in the Perry Campus Center in Crete on Sunday, April 22. The induction ceremony follows. Athletes from the two teams also will be introduced April 21 during the Doane College Relays. The ceremony and induction are open to the public with reservations. (To make a reservation for the luncheon, contact the alumni office at 1.800.333.6263, ext. 8258.)
The Athletic Hall of Fame recognizes athletic achievements while in college and honors and preserves the memory of outstanding athletes, teams and coaches. The athletes who will be honored this year are an elite group, even among Doane's powerhouse track program. They achieved their National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics national championships under the leadership of former Head Coach Fred Beile, who was named the NAIA Women's Track and Field National Coach-of-the-Year in 2001 (the fifth time he was selected for the honor in his career.)
The group of women who met in Fuhrer Field House for the first practices of the 2001 and 2002 track and field seasons had no idea of the benchmark they would set for Tiger athletics.
Their victories would be hard won and defining. They would win back-to-back NAIA national outdoor track and field championships, claiming Doane's first-ever national team championship in any sport.
"It was a historic moment and we will always measure our successes from that point," then Head Track and Field Coach Fred Beile said in the days following the first national title.
Several team members earned national individual titles and set new Doane records. While there may have been equally talented teams in the program's history, coaches said, these teams were perhaps the fiercest competitors.
In simplest terms, they tried harder than anyone they faced.
Coaches name one moment that captured their determination and freeze-framed their success.
The first national title came down to the 4 x 400-meter relay, the last race of the day in Abbotsford, British Columbia. Doane had the slowest qualifying time and needed to finish seventh for a shot at the championship. Anchor Wendy Brouillette lagged 20 meters behind - in eighth place - when her hand closed around the baton. She sprinted around the track as though first-place was in reach. The seventh-place team runner let up when she realized her team could not medal; Wendy did not, crossing the line in a photo finish that would be decided by 1/100th of a second.
Teammates and coaches waited for the results, erupting in emotion and jubilation at the announcement of their seventh-place relay finish and a share of the national title.
The first year the championship was a sweet surprise. The season that followed was a purposeful drive to earn back-to-back titles. Rather than individual high scorers, they relied on balance and depth. The many leaders on the team held themselves and others to high standards. In chase of victory, athletes tried different events and combinations to get the most points out of each athlete.
When they returned to the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics national championship, in Olathe, Kan., they "nickeled and dimed them to death with seconds, thirds and fourths," Beile recalled. Their depth secured 67 points and a second national title, won not with individual titles, but 17 top-five finishes.
This group of athletes brought many firsts to Doane's sports history but their legacy is that they did it together. The individual national champions; the athletes who scored one point; the teammates who pushed their peers to be better at every practice.
"Every single person had to come through and they did," Coach Ed Fye said.