SPC Indoor Championship, 3.18.2017

Post date: Mar 19, 2017 2:57:52 AM

Meet Dorothy Metcalf-Lindenberger. She goes by “Dottie,” and she is one of many who have contributed to something bigger than herself.

Dottie went to Fort Collins High School in Colorado. She studied geology in college, graduated with honors, and then began teaching high school science.

Her next stop was outer space.

In 2004, NASA selected Dottie as a mission specialist. She served for NASA in many capacities, but one of the highlights was in 2010 when she boarded the Space Shuttle Discovery with a destination of the International Space Station.

The International Space Station was put into orbit in 1998. Parts of it have been built and added over the years, and now it is roughly the length and width of an outdoor track. It can be seen by the naked eye at night. Its purpose is pure science, and it is used as an observatory, a lab, and an educational facility, among other things.

During the past year, experiments aboard the space station included growing flowering plant crops (with hopes of eventually getting to tomatoes), investigating heart cells, improving weather forecasting, testing cotton fabrics to resist fire, and many other things that are quite frankly beyond my scientific understanding.

While the United States and Russia get the most press for their contributions to the space station, Canada, Japan, and 11 members of the European Space Agency all work together on this. There also are numerous mission control centers scattered across the globe that act as crucial components to the space station’s success. Locations can be found in the United States, Canada, France, Russia, Germany, Japan, Italy, The Netherlands, French Guiana, and Kazakhstan.

Those aboard the space station studied in various places, trained in others, and eventually met up 150 miles above the Earth.

In many ways those a part of the International Space Station remind me of a track and field team. Track and field teams are often broken up into many separate groups with a similar objective. The sport lends itself to being compartmentalized (name another sport that has the word “and” as part of its name).

At Minooka we have training groups for distance, sprinters, and throwers. Those groups are further broken down into middle distance, hurdlers, quarter-milers, pole vaulters, horizontal jumpers, and high jumpers. But all are working toward a common goal.

At practice sometimes we don’t see each other much. Throwers might be in the weight room while sprinters are on the track and distance runners are 2 miles away on a road. But when we work, we trust that those unseen teammates practicing somewhere else are working just as hard as we are. Eventually we all meet up at a track meet.

On Saturday we all met up at Plainfield North for the SPC Indoor Championship. For most, it marked the end of the indoor season. Our goal was not as lofty as putting a space station in orbit, but it was an opportunity to put all the pieces together for a chance at success.

It worked. For only the third time in 11 years, Minooka won the now 10-team meet. All our different training groups contributed, and it was great to see the team all together.

The 4x800-meter relay team of Ashley Tutt, Olivia Kics, Gwen Barnes, and Ali Mondrella led off with a win.

Minooka continued with three more wins in individual events: Emily Shelton (3200-meter run), Brooklyn Bachmann (pole vault), and Tutt (1600-meter run). Shelton and Tutt each set meet records.

The 4x200-meter (Madison Thompson, Cierra Bachmann, Eryn Renison, and Danyelle Myers) and 4x400-meter (CBachmann, Emily Johnson, Rension, and Mackenzie Callan) relays both ran season bests, and individuals from all the training groups had bests, as well.

Thompson and Aaliyah Young had lifetime bests in the 55-meter dash.

Jenna Roberts, Abby Rivara, and Jaritzza Zuno had season bests in the 55-meter hurdles.

Sydney Forrest had a season best in the 200-meter dash, and she set the Minooka freshman indoor record in the event.

Callahan and Emily Ellis had season bests in the 800-meter run.

Tutt and Julia Dames had season bests in the 1600-meter run.

Vivian Van Eck had a season best in the 3200-meter run.

Forrest and Cierra Bachmann had season bests in the long jump.

Danielle Stubner and Sydney Andreano had season bests in the shot put.

Others not mentioned here also contributed and will continue to. Our long-term goals are bigger than this meet, and bigger than any one contribution listed here.

When Dottie boarded the Space Shuttle Discovery, it was loaded with supplies and equipment for the space station. The 15-day mission for the crew aboard Discovery would involve first dropping off the supplies and then replacing ammonia tanks, a task that required three spacewalks. It was one mission in a series of missions over two decades that got the space station to where it is now.

Dottie’s contribution to the International Space Station was just one of many. But she was used to that feeling. She was used to being a part of a team where people worked separately toward a common goal.

At Fort Collins High School, Dottie ran on the varsity track and field team. Even qualified for state in the 2-mile.

Go Minooka!

— Coach Thomas