AURORA – Seeing runners sprint and hurdle their way through the Marmion hallways was a common occurrence during previous track and field seasons.
Pole vaulters lacked a place to practice, and shot put throwers were practicing on the hardwood of the basketball courts. These were some of the challenges the Cadets track and field program faced because they lacked a proper place to train for the indoor portion of the season.
That changed in November 2011, when Marmion opened the Regole Field House, which has boosted both the track program and the entire school. Marmion traditionally has had high athletic participation numbers, but with the opening of the field house and other improvements throughout the school, students from surrounding areas have taken notice.
Enrollment for all sports have increased, Cadets coach Dan Thorpe said, and practices for the track team are smoother as athletes no longer have to dodge teachers while doing sprints after school.
“It was extremely difficult. You’re running in the hallways ...teachers are helping students after school and students are in the school as you’re running down the hallways and setting up hurdles,” Thorpe said. “We never did pole vault, but now we can pole vault ... and we have lanes [for runners].”
In addition to the indoor track and an area for pole-vaulting, the Regole Field House has three basketball courts, three tennis courts, lanes for long jump and triple jump, and two cages for baseball, golf and shot put and discus throwers.
The facility was named in honor of Edward and Vivienne Regole, in memory of Edward’s parents, Gertrude and Maurice Sr. A majority of the $5.3 million construction and furnishing cost was underwritten by a personal gift from various Regole family estates. Edward graduated from Marmion in 1950 and has two brothers: the late Maurice Jr. and John, who also graduated from Marmion.
This season’s track and field team is the first team to have the benefit of training in the facility for more than a calendar year. The team wrapped up its indoor season Wednesday after its meet at Sycamore, and Thorpe said the ability for his athletes to practice regardless of the weather gives his team a big advantage. Athletes such as recent graduate Pete Stefanski, a 2012 all-state high jumper now at Miami (Ohio) are able to develop as athletes with more time spent on their events instead of having to deal with the hassles of having limited space to practice.
As Marmion prepares for the upcoming outdoor track season, Thorpe said the team is focused on continuing the program’ tradition of talented track teams. A win at the Suburban Christian Conference meet this year would give the Cadets their ninth straight victory.
With such consistent success within the program through the years, Thorpe knows what it takes to have his team achieve its goals.
“We know what is required to maintain that,” he said. “It’s going to be difficult, but our first goal always is to win the conference meet and our second goal is to get as many kids to the state meet as possible.”
With respect to the hallways, the field house gives the Cadets a better – and safer – jump on that itinerary.