The Buccaneers christened Karris Track & Field at Strong Stadium in short order during Beloit’s football home opener on September 17. On the first play, within the first 11 seconds, defensive back Kenny Williams’14 ran back an 85-yard kickoff return against Carroll University to the delight of 2,800 fans decked out in blue and gold.
Though Carroll would go on to win the game, the opposing team could not dampen the high spirits of the Family Weekend crowd.
Squeezed into the stands, the fans did their part to help make Beloit history—they were first to see the artificial surface field in play, first to witness the digital capabilities of a new high-tech scoreboard, and first to observe physical proof that lacrosse will be coming soon to Beloit. Field lines for both football and lacrosse surround the large Beloit “B” at midfield. Beloit will field its first-ever men’s and women’s Division III lacrosse teams starting in the spring of 2013.
A newly energized Parents Club made for a large crowd that gathered around an oversized Buccaneer cake and a spread of picnic fare before the game.
Standing out was the family of linebacker Darth Winkler’15, whose little brother Dane Winkler, age 7, donned a bleached-blonde mohawk to match the one his brother sports and a T-shirt emblazoned with 65, his brother’s number. Sixty-five is significant to the Lewistown, Ill.-based Winklers: The entire family of football fanatics has worn it in play, starting with Darth’s grandfather.
Supporters of the $3.7 million track and field renovation came together under a tent for a special pre-game celebration, then watched the game from the 50-yard line.
“We are proud to be Beloiters, who love our past and can’t wait for the future,” College President Scott Bierman said to donors at the thank-you reception.
Guests of honor and major donors Nick’58 and Mary Ann Karris and Jim and Marge Sanger assembled with a group of donors whose generosity and persistence made the improvements a reality.
“Thanks to everyone who stuck it out and got us to the finish line,” Bierman said.