Hamline News

Shot Putters Get Team Running and Raising Funds

During the Minnesota Stay Home Order Members of the Hamline Track and Field and Cross Country teams ran backward and uphill in a training move they dubbed the “Reverse T-Rex Challenge” to raise over $600 for The Link, a shelter for youth run by Beth Holger '98 and Master of Nonprofit Management '04.

Hamline’s throwers, jumpers and runners maintained their physical fitness remotely all spring. Members posted their workouts online to share unique exercises that teammates and recruits can use in their training.

One video by senior shot putter Jessie Juenemann caught the eye of fellow thrower (and recently named U.S. Track and Field and Cross Country Coaches Association 2020 All-American) Joe Martin, a junior. In the clip, Juenemann was running backward up a hill.

“My teammate Joe thought it was funny and decided to do it as well,” said Juenemann. “He challenged other throwers to do the workout and look goofy doing it.”

“I thought of the name reverse T-Rex because I couldn't help but notice the resemblance between Jessie running uphill backward and that of a graceful yet deadly T-Rex,” said Martin.

Joe was not teasing his teammate. Really!

“While everyone may think I did this to make fun of Jessie, I was literally just trying to encourage everyone to do the workouts that she was doing during quarantine, and thought a catchy name would encourage more people to participate,” said Martin.

The coaches liked Martin’s idea and built on it.

“The coaches wanted to engage all our athletes in a creative way so we threw the challenge out to the team and decided to expand it to our alumni,” said Women’s Track and Field Head Coach Shawn Johnson-Hipp (who announced her retirement this year).

They also added an incentive. For every person who ran backward uphill and tagged the team’s Instagram account (@Hamline_tf_xc), the track and field coaches would donate $1 to The Link. 

Hamline alumna Beth Holger, the Link’s CEO, ran distance events when she was an undergraduate student at Hamline. The track and field team raises funds for the organization every year. The additional support is much needed during the COVID-19 pandemic and Minnesota Stay Home Order.

The Link provides safe housing and support services for youth experiencing homelessness or sex trafficking. These vulnerable young people have been significantly impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic because they have no homes and the places they usually seek shelter such as schools and libraries are closed.

“Overall, we are seeing a lot more requests for help and there was not enough capacity prior to the pandemic. That’s why it was so nice of Shawn and Schmaed (Coach Paul Schmaedeke, who is also retiring this year.) to do the fundraiser,” said Holger. “It helps so much!”

Hamline community members can still contribute to The Link. Shelter for youth and support services remain in high demand. The Link has established a wish list for those who have the ability to support the program.

Written by staff.