Homecoming week: a tradition in which a group of people return to a place they formerly regarded as home for a special occasion; it is an annual celebration of alumni at the high school and college level. Lately, videos have circulated social media of various homecoming week themes at high schools around the country. Kids dress up all week and on the day of the homecoming game they go all out and show their ultimate school pride. Well everyone, the week of October 1 is our homecoming week, and October 6 is our big homecoming game.
Lawrence does the whole homecoming thing a little bit differently than the stereotypical school. The focus of the week is to celebrate the alumni, honor Hall of Fame inductees and to gather at a school that brought all of these people together at some point. The school used to call the same weekend “Fall Festival Weekend,” but has shifted it this year to “Blue and White Weekend.” Doing this, they hope to shift the focus away from something general like a season and towards a more centralized idea of school pride. This is a week to celebrate Lawrence as a whole. It is filled with athletic events where everyone can go show their support. Soccer plays Wednesday and Thursday. Volleyball is home on Friday—a “Pink Out” game where the fans have been asked to come wearing all pink—and Saturday. On top of that, Saturday also has an alumni softball game, our only home cross country meet, one of the last couple home tennis matches and the Hall of Fame football game.
Something that is especially cool about the Blue and White Weekend is the emphasis on our newest Hall of Fame inductees. There is a Hall of Fame dinner on Friday night. All teams are represented by a coach and player at this evening dedicated to the amazing athletes who have walked these Lawrence halls. Then, at half time of the football game on Saturday, each inductee is presented and honored in front of all the attendees. This year there are seven inductees; let’s get to know them.
Valerie Curtis, class of 2003, was a cross country and track all-star. In cross country, Curtis was a member of the 1999 and 2001 Midwest conference championship teams, a 2002 NCAA D3 championship qualifier and a multi-invitational champion. In track, Curtis was the 2001 MWC Champion in the 5000 meters, recorded 15 top five finishes at the conference championships and seven second-place finishes at the championships. Above all, Curtis showed pride in her academics, being a six-time Academic All-Midwest Conference Honoree.
Jeff Kinziger, class of 1996, was a football team captain and most valuable player. He was a three-year starting quarterback, having started one year at defensive back. Setting multiple season records during his career, from passing yards per attempt, to rushing yards, to plays per game, he led a team to high success in the Midwest conference during his career at Lawrence University. He finished his career third in touchdowns and sixth in rushing yards.
Beth Pollnow, class of 2002, was a women’s basketball point guard. She was voted All-Midwest Conference second team in 1999 and 2001 and All-Midwest Conference first team in 2002. Pollnow is the career leader in assists with 395 and steals with 294. She is ranked 13th for points scored, third in 3-pointers and set the game assists record and game steals record. She was a member of the 1999 MWC championship and NCAA division III tournament team.
Becca Reason, class of 2006, was a softball center fielder and shortstop. She made All-Midwest Conference and All-Great Lakes Region all four years of her career, making her one of just two players in Lawrence history to be a four-time All Midwest Conference and All-Great Lakes Region selection. Having a career batting average of .353, Reason is in second for career hits and career stolen bases and third for career runs scored. The team made four conference tournament appearances and took the North Division title in 2003 and 2005.
Dick Schultz, class of 1967, was a basketball and track athlete. He is second in career scoring and career scoring average for basketball. Schultz was a two-time MWC champion in track and field for the long jump and mile relay, having also set the school record in both.
Sarah Slivinski, class of 2003, was a track and soccer athlete. She competed in the heptathlon, qualifying for the NCAA DIII championships and the sprint medley, setting school records in all her events. She was a three-time MWC champion, two in indoor and one in outdoor. In soccer, playing at midfield, she was a starter on the 2000 and 2001 MWC championship and NCAA DIII tournament teams. Slivinski also made Academic All-Midwest Conference nine times.
Last, but obviously not least, is Al Zagzebski, class of 1978, a defensive tackle for the football team. He made All-Midwest Conference first team in 1974, 1975 and 1976. He averaged 8.8 tackles per game and the defense only allowed 13.5 points per game during his career, going 22-5 for his career win-loss record.
As they all get inducted into the Hall of Fame to join the many other greats archived in the bonds of Lawrence athletics, we hope to capture their feelings and show them that we are proud to be part of the Lawrence family with them.
All sporting events on Saturday have a Blue and White theme. There is a tailgate on Saturday prior to the football game put on by the school that will be accepting meal swipes as a form of payment for food. Andrew Commons will have a limited selection of food that morning, so the best option for awesome food and a great time is to head over to the Banta Bowl for football Saturday. However, there are many opportunities to cheer on the Lawrence Vikings throughout this week, so go make an appearance and see what Lawrence defines as homecoming.