Bennie Track & Field | CSB track and field complete indoor season

CSB track and field compteted at the Indoor Championships on Feb. 29. Multiple athletes recorded PRs.

By Jake Kutina
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Women’s Track and Field finished out their indoor season at the 2020 MIAC Indoor Championships on Saturday, Feb. 29. A couple of athletes set a few personal bests, but a pair of top-five finishes highlighted the weekend for the Bennies.

Senior Lee Stelten finished fifth in the pole vault with a mark of 3.25 meters, earning her an All-MIAC honorable mention selection. The 4×400-meter relay team also earned a top-five finish as they finished fourth overall with a time of 4:05.65 in the final meet of the indoor season. The relay team of junior Kelly Klingelhutz, first-year Jane Meilander, first-year Hailey Johnson, and sophomore Laura Mitch also earned honorable mention accolades.

Saturday’s fifth-place finish marked the third top-five finish of Stelten’s career. She spoke a bit about how the indoor season ended and what to expect for the outdoor season.

“My hope was to place a little higher than I did, but given the circumstances, I was happy with how it ended,” Stelten said. “Our team didn’t do as well as we have in the past years, but we had a lot of girls step up and perform, so that was good to see. It was a good experience for us as a team. We’re going to work on improving our PRs so we can finish at a higher place for the outdoor season.”

Klingelhutz is also looking to keep the momentum going into the outdoor season.

“We are really excited for the outdoor season because we’ve had a lot of athletes setting PRs lately,” Klingelhutz said. “Outdoor is a whole new ballgame, I can’t wait to see what this team can do.”

Setting personal bests was a common theme with the Bennies Saturday afternoon. Johnson finished 14th in the 200 in a personal best time of 27.18 seconds. First-year Aidan McLoone recorded a personal-best mark of 10.57 meters in the triple jump to earn a spot in the finals and eventually a ninth-place finish. Teammate Stephanie Pickthorn recorded a .2 meter PR of 10.49 meters and took 11th in the same event.
Pickthorn was also another Bennie that earned All-MIAC honorable mention by placing fifth in the pentathlon. She spoke on the end of the season and the competition in the MIAC.

“Personally, I think the MIAC [Championships] went well. We had a lot of people getting personal bests,” Pickthorn said. “Unfortunately, there are a lot of great athletes in the MIAC this year, but I believe that it’ll only make us better competing against them. We know that we can qualify more people in the outdoor season.”

The Bennies will look to start the season off strong as they begin the 2020 outdoor season with a home meet Saturday, March 28 in Collegeville.

ABE takes students across country for a spring break of service

By Alaina Graupman
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Over spring break, Campus Ministry sent three groups of Bennies and Johnnies on Alternative Break Experiences (ABE) to San Francisco, Kansas City and New Orleans.

The groups, ranging from 7-10 people, were led by a Bennie and Johnnie duo alongside a faculty advisor.

The New Orleans group, lead by CSB senior, Ashley Kraemer, and SJU sophomore, Joseph Penny, worked at United Saints Recovery Project, a grassroots relief center aiming to repair, rebuild and restore homes and communities still devastated from Hurricane Katrina 15 years later.

The Bennies and Johnnies spent their days painting homes, doing construction and planting trees around New Orleans. This physical labor only served part of the mission the trip set out to complete—that by helping others, you will be helped in return.

“Obviously we are doing hands–on work, but it’s not always about making a difference in their community because realistically what is only one week of service going to do?” Kraemer said. “It’s more about learning about the injustices that the community faces, [and] bringing that back to campus and educating others.”

Kraemer encouraged others to commit themselves to service, even if it is only one week.

“It opens your eyes to problems on campus you wouldn’t think of otherwise,” Kraemer said.

CSB sophomore, Korina Pekarek, and SJU junior, Michael Sulaiman, shared that their experiences in San Francisco at Faithful Fools, a service organization seeking to understand and support the homeless, led them to a similar mindset as Kraemer.

This awareness was greatly impacted through the “street retreats” organized by Faithful Fools that bookended the trip. Students were sent into the streets to learn through observation and conversation with the homeless population in the Tenderloin district of San Francisco, a part of the city that is heavily populated by the homeless community.

“The biggest thing I learned from the street retreats is how commonly homelessness is dehumanized and how they are seen as one group of people who all need and want one thing,” Pekarek said. “They are as human as anyone else is and should be treated that way. When participating in service, activism or legislation it should be remembered that they are individuals.”

Through self–reflection the group grappled with their feelings of sadness, confusion and hopelessness, alongside a calling to affect change.

“Many people in the group struggled with recognizing how their role in activism, especially when there is so much to be done, fit into their current status of a student or how they can continue to incorporate that in the future,” Sulaiman said.

These questions sparked students to search for opportunities to incorporate the knowledge and values learned over break into their everyday lives.

Martha Koenig, CSB senior, encourages everyone to look into going on an ABE if they want a transformative experience. Koenig co-led the Kansas City trip to Operation Breakthrough, Missouri’s largest daycare, alongside Quinlen Marshall, SJU senior.

Operation Breakthrough serves the neediest members of Kansas City with advocacy, childcare and donations. Many of the children at the center have experienced trauma, homelessness or violence.

The Bennies and Johnnies spent their mornings in the classroom with the children and in the afternoon ventured into the city to help with projects like organizing spaces, sorting donations and social service support.

Koenig emphasizes that this work is rooted in building community-whether that be with the fellow Bennies and Johnnies, or the larger community you are serving and learning from. ABE hopes that these lessons will translate into attendees’ personal, academic and professional lives.

“ABE looks a lot different this year than previous years. We have narrowed our lenses to more domestic trips and trips that we have longstanding partnerships with. Our intention is not to be a Christian presence, even though it is done through campus ministry, or that we are trying to help someone more than we are trained to do,” Koenig said.

Even though these trips were short, they made long–term impacts on the participants.

“This trip changed my being as a whole. It changed my view of humanity, view of social justice issues and how all challenges in life should be approached,” Pekarek said.

Johnnie and Bennie Diving | First-year divers qualify for nationals

Emi Quill (above) ranked eighth in nationals.

By Kayla Albers
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Divers might be a little bit of their own type of crazy, but that is exactly what makes them so talented at what they do. Four Bennie and Johnnie divers competed at the NCAA Regional Competition at Denison University in Granville, Ohio on the weekend of Feb. 28-29.
“To be a diver you have to be a little bit crazy,” head dive coach Jon Hazen said.
First-years Emily Quill and Jack Grabinski both qualified for the NCAA Championship meet in both the one-meter and three-meter diving competitions in Greensboro, N.C. to take place on March 18-21.
To learn a new dive, the divers do flips and twists off a spring board into the water without knowing what the movement feels like. Once they nail down the movement, they do it off a spring board that is 15 feet in the air.
Hazen is in his tenth year coaching for CSB and SJU, and this is one of his top-three seasons coaching for the team, if not the most successful.
“Seeing them succeed and getting that new dive and then doing it in a meet and getting excited is the biggest thing as a coach,” Hazen said.
Moving out of the MIAC to regional and national competition, the competition got tougher and more intense. Quill and Grabinski were competing against the top divers in the region and now will be competing against the top 29 females and top 24 males in Division III diving. Both first-years are the only divers from the MIAC to qualify for the national meet.
“Everybody has the hard dives and everybody can do them well,” Grabinski said. “It was all about who could do them better.”
Quill finished eighth on the one-meter board with a score of 383.60 and finished tenth on the three-meter board with a score of 363.40. She is the first member of CSB swim and dive to qualify for nationals since 2002.
This season Quill has also set multiple school records in the one-meter, six-dive competition and the three-meter, 11-dive competition. She sits at the third best three-meter, six-dive score in CSB history and the fourth best three-meter, 11-dive score.
“It has been a good way to start my college diving career. If it hadn’t gone as well, I think I would have been more scared away from it,” Quill said.
Grabinski also qualified for nationals by finishing fourth in the three-meter competition with a score of 425.75 and a seventh-place finish in the one-meter competition with a score of 416.05.
“I just love diving. It is a cool accomplishment to go to nationals and cool to do it for the school. I hope I made my team proud,” Grabinski said.
Other team members, CSB senior Artie Pomerenke and SJU first-year Connor Reed, also competed at regionals. Pomerenke finished 22nd on the one-meter board with a score of 300.20 and Reed finished in 20th on the one-meter board with a score of 343.00 and 15th on the three-meter with a score of 370.35.
There is no doubt that diving is a mental sport. There can be roadblocks that prevent a diver from being able to accomplish a new dive, or complete a dive successfully.
“The first step is taking one, and if you don’t take one you are standing in the same spot,” Hazen said. “No matter how scary it gets you have to take the first step.”
Grabinski and Quill both mentioned the role of feeling the dive and the importance of this in their mentality for a dive.
“If I can’t feel how to do a dive that makes it more difficult,” Quill said. “Getting over mental blocks is really hard and certain dives my brain doesn’t want me to do, like my reverse dive, but I pushed through and did it.”
“I will try to relax and have a good approach and a good board ride to feel with the board. It is kind of like a feeling with diving,” Grabinski said.
The close-knit bond the divers have is one that cannot be replaced, and is something unique about this dive squad. It is both an individual and a team sport because everyone supports each other and wants each other to succeed, even though they are on the board alone.
“It wasn’t just one person succeeding, it was all of them,” Hazen said. “I want other teams to see us and wish they were on our team.”

CSB/SJU prepares for COVID-19

By Brandon Spratt
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Empty stands at Sexton Arena
Saturday’s NCAA Division III 3rd Round game between St. John’s and St. Thomas will go on as scheduled in front of limited patrons, limited to essential staff and immediate family.
Fans that purchased tickets online (the game sold out as of Wednesday afternoon) will receive a full refund. The game will be available to stream online at
The absence of fans comes as a result of an NCAA mandate issued on Wednesday, March 11. The NCAA announced that its upcoming Division I Tournament, colloquially known as March Madness, will take place with no fans in the stands.
NCAA President Mark Emmert issued the following statement Wednesday afternoon:
“The NCAA continues to assess the impact of COVID-19 in consultation with public health officials and our COVID-19 advisory panel. Based on their advice and my discussions with the NCAA Board of Governors, I have made the decision to conduct our upcoming championship events, including the Division I men’s and women’s basketball tournaments, with only essential staff and limited family attendance,” Emmert said.
Earlier Wednesday, the Ivy League announced the cancellation of all sports indefinitely, one day after the league announced the cancelation of its conference basketball tournaments.
“While I understand how disappointing this is for all fans of our sports, my decision is based on the current understanding of how COVID-19 is progressing in the United States,” Emmert said.
By Cullen Trobec
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Classes will go on—for now.
CSB/SJU will continue instruction as usual despite the accelerating COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic, administrators said Wednesday. Constant monitoring of the outbreak in the United States is ongoing, and any decision to alter classes will be made based on recommendations from the Center for Disease Control (CDC) and the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH).
As a “preparedness exercise,” CSB/SJU asked Wednesday that all faculty hold at least one class session online between now and the end of the next school week. Faculty members are being told to prepare for a full transition to online instruction in the event that the outbreak forces the suspension of face-to-face instruction.
“We’ve been working with faculty to have them prepared if we were to go online. I met with all the department chairs yesterday, and we’re working with the deans,” said Richard Ice, CSB/SJU provost. Ice and others assured that regardless of classes being online or in-person, students’ education will not stop.
Dozens of colleges across the country have already suspended face-to-face instruction, most notably the University of Minnesota. The U is currently on spring break but plans to administer classes online through April 1. Other nearby state universities such as the University of Iowa and the University of Wisconsin-Madison have taken similar measures. They join the likes of UCLA, Harvard, Boston College, Ohio St. University and dozens of other schools that have transitioned online and discouraged large group gatherings.

For now, it seems that small private colleges in Minnesota are following the recommendations for the CDC and the MDH. In a Wednesday statement, the MDH said that “Minnesota currently does not have evidence of ongoing community transmission” and therefore is not recommending tele-learning or closures.

“Minnesota’s private colleges have been talking regularly with Minnesota Department of Health officials. This is not just our opportunity to learn from the Department of Health, but from each other,” said Kathryn Enke, CSB chief of staff said.

As of now, there is no indication of what specific factors would push CSB/SJU or the MDH to cancel face-to-face instruction.

“To use an analogy, it’s kind of like when I have to call a snow day,” Ice said. “People want to know how many inches, what’s the wind, what’s the temperature. I don’t have the answer. It’s a combination of things.”

At CSB/SJU it seems that no aspect of student life is going untouched. Soon after the announcement that faculty would be expected to prepare for online courses, it was also announced that fans will not be allowed to attend the Sweet 16 basketball playoff matchup between
St. John’s and the University of St. Thomas. The move drew the ire of students who had already purchased tickets across social media.

International programs have felt the sharpest impact. The Center for Global Education (CGE) announced Wednesday afternoon that the spring semester study abroad trip operating in Segovia, Spain will be suspended.

“There was a COVID-19 case at the university in Spain, an Italian student not one of our students, so we took the preemptive step of moving our classes online for two weeks,” said Kevin Clancy, director of the CGE. After consideration of warnings from the Spanish government, CGE decided to suspend the program altogether.

Students currently on the trip were scheduled return to the United States by March 18 to continue to take classes online in order to earn credit for the semester. However, on Wednesday evening President Trump declared that all travel  from Europe will be banned for the next 30 days. The ban excludes the United Kingdom, as well as U.S. nationals who have undergone a screening process. Precisely what that means remains unclear.

At the time of publication, it was unclear what actions will be taken regarding the students currently in Spain. Students in Segovia had already been taking classes online, a measure which was recently extended to April 14.

Kevin Clancy has also indicated that it is “more likely than not” that the embedded Japan program this summer will not take place. Japan is currently under a Level 2 travel advisory from the Center for Disease Control (CDC) with little indication that the pandemic will slow to levels that would not threaten the safety of students. Students participating in the program have only just begun a complimentary CD mod class, and are scheduled to be in Japan from May 12 to June 2.

Clancy said decisions regarding future programs will be largely contingent upon the CDC’s warnings.

“For any CDC warning level 3 country, we will not send any programs. If students are in a country that becomes a warning level 3 we will suspend the program and bring the students back home,” Clancy said.

Level 3 warnings advise against all non-essential travel within a country. China, Italy, South Korea, and Iran are currently under Level 3 warnings.
CSB junior Ashley Marek was already well into her independent semester abroad in Florence, Italy when she first started hearing reports of the novel coronavirus. The country quickly became a hotspot for infections in Europe, which prompted a Level 2 travel advisory warning from the CDC.

“There was talk of being sent home,” Marek said. “That’s when CGE reached out to me.”

Clancy and others at CGE kept in close contact with Marek, and encouraged her to return home when the CDC issued a Level 3 warning soon afterwards. The Level 3 warning was enough for Marek’s program provider to permanently suspend her trip. She has since returned home, and is roughly halfway through a 14-day self-imposed quarantine. The quarantine is to ensure that any potential infection is able to run its course with limited exposure to other people.

Marek said that there was very little action taken toward her and other returnees from Italy upon arriving in Italy.

“I packed my carry-on bag in case I was quarantined, so I had all my travel shampoos and toothpaste,” Marek said. “But coming back to the U.S. they didn’t do anything. Didn’t even check my temperature.”

Students and faculty are encouraged to remain vigilant and practice good hygiene, and those returning from level 3 countries are required to remain under quarantine. Health services at both CSB and SJU stand ready to respond.

“Our health center at St. Ben’s and the clinic at St. John’s are prepared for how they intake a student who shows potential symptoms,” Enke said.
“Our current plan is to handle each case on a case-by-case basis. It might be that a student is able to return home and self quarantine there.”

Until further recommendations from the CDC and MDH, CSB/SJU is likely to remain on edge.

“We are preparing. We’re going to do the best we can,” Ice said.

St. Ben’s Senate | Senate funds Maple Syrup Festival, hears proposals, plans events

By Brandon Spratt
[email protected]
The St. Ben’s Senate met for the last time before Spring Break on Wednesday, Feb. 26.

First, the senate heard from a pair of students about attending an annual nutrition conference.

Next, Outdoor University presented on the upcoming Maple Syrup Festival, and the senate allocated $1,738 dollars to the festival.

The senate also heard a proposal for a potential first-year event, “Sustainability and Succulents,” in hopes of teaching first-year students to live more sustainably.

Finally, the senate discussed buying new office supplies to spruce up their office for the “Study with a Senator” initiative that occurs every Thursday.

Senator Crystal Diaz will attend the next St. John’s Senate meeting on Monday, March 9.

The next St. Ben’s Senate meeting will be on Wednesday, March 11.

St. John’s Senate | Senate funds Outdoor U, Dogs for Democracy and SJU tickets

By Charles Ellis
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The St. John’s Senate convened at 9:20 p.m. on Monday, Feb. 24 in Br. Willie’s Pub.

The first presentation of the evening came from Logan Weis and Amanda Kerkhove on behalf of Outdoor U.

The organization requested $500 from the senate for free student tickets for this year’s Maple Syrup Festival. The SJS unanimously voted to approve the allocation.

Secondly, St. John’s Senate Vice President Alex Modeas presented on Dogs for Democracy.

Dogs for Democracy is meant to promote civic engagement on and off campus. This was held yesterday, Feb. 27 and provided free hot dogs, snacks and drinks to students along with information on political candidate information for the upcoming primaries. The senate voted to pass the motion and granted $197 for the program.

Weis and Kerkhove then requested $1,785 to obtain new equipment for Outdoor U. The funding would cover new camping gear, winter gear and equipment for a triathlon. The senate voted to pass the request for funding.

The fourth and final funding request for $2,500 was on behalf of SJU Athletics to cover student ticket costs for the track and field, basketball and hockey MIAC playoffs.

The funding provided for 750 student tickets for basketball, 300 student tickets for hockey and 200 student tickets for track and field, valued at $1,500, $600 and $400 respectively. The senate voted to pass the motion.

Treasurer Terran Ferguson provided the senate with a budget update. The senate has spent 77 percent of their budget this year and currently has $12,723 remaining.

The next St. John’s Senate meeting will take place after Spring Break at 9:20 p.m. on March 9 in Br. Willie’s Pub.