Citius, Altius, Fortius—the Latin motto of the Olympic Games—means “faster, higher, stronger,” and corresponds to the idea that track and field athletes not only aim to win against the competitors of the day but also to achieve performances that will be remembered for years to come.
In that spirit, we record the winning times of sprinters and distance runners as well as the distances of field athletes who jump or throw. Coe College hosted the first MWC Track and Field Championship on May 13, 1921—after the Midwest Conference formed the previous year—with Beloit, Carleton, Coe, Cornell, Knox, and Lawrence competing. Championship records for each event have been maintained ever since.
Currently, Beloit’s Scott Schleich’93 holds the conference high jump record, and no one has managed to surpass it since it was set more than 25 years ago on May 8, 1993, at Knox College.
Quite a number of Beloit College high jumpers have won titles over the years. Perry Magill’26 set an MWC record in 1925 of 5’9” back when high jumpers landed in a sand pit. Chuck Bacon’42 was a repeat Midwest Conference champion in 1939 and 1940, winning the latter with a leap of 6’1”. Coached by the distinguished Division I jumper Alf Harrer (who jumped 6’6” for the Wisconsin Badgers as a student between 1938-41), Craig Miller’60 had repeated victories in 1959 and 1960, pushing the height to 6’2”, and Harrer-coached Lanier Gordon’67 upped the height further at 6’3” when he won in 1965. However, Scott Schleich’s leap of 6’6” as a freshman in 1990 and his fourth conference title in 1993 of seven feet even is a conference achievement unmatched to this day. Schleich won four conference titles, two indoors and two outdoors. At six feet eight inches tall, Schleich was a significant presence on Beloit’s winning basketball team as well. Today he serves as the principal of an elementary school in Aurora, Colo.
After Schleich, Beloit College won six more high jump titles at conference: Judy Logback’95 in the outdoor in 1995 (she also competed at nationals in the heptathlon); Alanna Moss’98 in 1995 and again in 1998; and Djuvane Browne’04, a triple winner from the Bahamas, who took the high jump titles for Beloit in 2001, 2003, and 2004, clearing 6’8” in his freshman and junior years.
The high jump is an event that combines all three skills of citius, altius et fortius: sprinting speed and transferring that horizontal power into vertical power. It is a highly technical event, and many little things can go wrong: sheer speed and power are not enough to succeed. Over the last century, Beloit’s track team has made a lot of noise in this event with talent often capable of jumping over most Beloit basketball players! The question remains: How much longer will Scott Schleich hold the MWC record? Will another Beloit College athlete be the one to break it?
Chris Koy’85, twice a Midwest Conference champion in the 10,000 meters, teaches English at the University of South Bohemia in the Czech Republic.