There have been many former Havre High athletes to move on to bigger things. But it has been a while since one as decorated as former Blue Pony Susan (Topolosky) Schotte has returned to the headlines.
Schotte graduated from Havre High in 1997. And after a successful prep career as a track, cross country and swim star for the Blue Ponies, Schotte moved on to Concordia University-Ann Arbor, where she emerged as one of the top distance runners in the NAIA school’s history.
After graduating from HHS, Schotte took her talents to Michigan, where she then graduated from Concordia University in 2001. But Sch
otte didn’t graduate before leaving a lasting impression in the athletic department, as Schotte currently holds 12 total school records and will be inducted into the 2011 Hall of Fame on Saturday. Schotte will also be the first distance runner ever inducted into the Cardinals’ Hall of Fame.
“We are thrilled to induct Susan (Schotte) into the 2011 Hall of Fame class,” Concordia’s Athletic Director Andrea Gorski said in a press release. “Especially at a time when we are working hard to grow our cross country program. Her accomplishments as a student-athlete are a positive example to our current runners that they can reach excellence in both the classroom ad in athletic competition.”
But even with the 12 total records and maybe even being the best runner to ever run for the Cardinals, Schotte was still surprised by her upcoming Hall of Fame induction.
“I was shocked to hear about it to be quite honest,” Schotte said. “But not only was I shocked, I was very honored to be awarded this. It sounds silly, but I never thought that I was that great of a runner, but my family, teammates, coaches and teachers have supported me over the years and helped me strive, and when I look back at my career, it was a very enjoyable time period. I am still trying to deal with the idea of what is going to happen on Saturday.”
And while Schotte’s modesty may have kept her from seeing just how talented she was, her list of college and prep achievements and accolades beg to differ.
While at HHS Schotte was a four-year letter winner in cross country. Running under head coach Carol Plenniger in cross country, Schotte was named the Most Valuable Runner in 1994, 1995 and 1996. She was also the team captain for the 1996 season and earned the Blue Pony Activity Award in 1995 and 1996, as well as earned Class A All State honors in 1995 and 1996. Schotte also earned Academic All-State honors in 1996. In 1995 Schotte finished No. 10 at state with a time of 20:16, and in 1996 she placed No. 13 with a time of 19:54, while the team finished as the No. 4 team in the state.
Schotte was also a four-year letter winner as a HHS track star, running under distance coach Noel Henderson. While running track, some of the most memorable moments came in Top 10 meets. In 1996 Schotte placed second in the 1,600 meters with a time of 5:46.19 and fourth in the 3,200 with a time of 12:36.18. In 1997 she placed No. 1 in the 3,200 meters with a time of 12:24 and second in the 1,600 with a time of 5:38.26.
And in the satte track meet in 1997 Schotte placed second in the 3,200 with a time of 12:12 and placed fifth in the 1,600 with a time of 5:34.9. Also in 1996, Schotte put her name in the HHS record books as the No. 3 runner in the 3,200 with a time of 12:06.4 and also earned the Adams’ Memorial award that year.
And as the list of accomplishments continues, Schotte was also an All-State and Academic All State selection for track in 1997 and was Havre High’s Athlete of the Year in her 1996-1997 school year.
After such a successful high school career, Schotte was primed for a solid career in the college ranks. She ended up with 12 records, but again was surprised she was even competing and succeeding at the next level.
“Going into the NAIA,” Schotte said. “That was never a goal, that was actually a complete shock to me. And for my times and records, I had goals every season and while I achieved a lot of them, I had times where I had my own battles and struggles just as any other athlete.
“But every time I knocked down a goal or record,” Schotte added. “I just set another goal and would try to aim for something a little bit higher. It was always a great feeling, but at the same time, I was like ‘ok, lets see how much further I can push myself, and how much better can I do.’”
Whatever Schotte was doing, it was working. And after running cross country, indoor track and outdoor track for the Cardinals, her list of accomplishments even outdoes what she did at HHS.
Schotte is the all-time record holder in cross country at Concordia with a time of 18:57.4 which she ran in 1999. She holds five indoor records including the 3000 meters (11:04.64) ran in 2000, the 5000 meters (18:46.81) ran in 2000, the 4x200-meter relay (2:02.24) ran in 1999, the 4x400-meter relay (4:40.84) ran in 2000 and the distance medley relay (14:01.25) ran in 2000. And in outdoor track, Schotte holds six records including the 1,500 meters (5:04.08) ran in 2000, the 3,000 (10:53.54) ran in 2000, the 5,000 meters (18:25.24) ran in 2000, the 10,000 meters (39:12.36) ran in 2000, the 4x100-meter relay (58:04) ran in 1999 and the 4x400-meter relay (4:36.68) ran in 2000.
Schotte was recognized in cross country in 1999 when she was named to the Wolverine-Hoosier Athletic Conference (WHAC) All-Conference Team. She was also named WHAC Second Team All-Conference in 2000 and WHAC All-Academic Honors in 1999, and again in 2000 for all three sports.
Track was fun for Schotte, but she enjoyed cross country the most. And as she looks back at her career as she prepares to be inducted into the Cardinals’ Hall of Fame on Saturday, the time of 18:57.4 in the 1999 NAIA National Championships which gave her the No. 44 finish overall was one of the more memorable moments.
“Cross country I enjoyed the most because you got to see new terrain and you weren’t just running in one big circle,” Schotte said. “And that whole event (NAIA National Meet) was a shock. I had placed seventh in conference and was actually the runner up, but the runner ahead of me had an injury and couldn’t go. I went in her place, and while it was nerve racking it was very enjoyable competition and I really enjoyed that opportunity. Every year I set goals, sometimes I achieved those goals and sometimes I didn’t, but I always kept trying.”