Schiltz makes strides

Published 9:24 am Thursday, June 7, 2012

New Richland-Hartland-Ellendale-Geneva’s T.J. Schiltz runs in a sub-section meet in May. -- Brandi Hagen/Albert Lea Tribune

By Rebekah Dyvig, staff writer

Since he was a young boy, T.J. Schiltz has loved to run. Now, having completed his sophomore year at New Richland-Hartland-Ellendale-Geneva high school, his love for running is breaking track and field records.

When he was in third grade his mother took him to the YMCA for track and field and other sports, but he enjoyed running the most.

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“In school he did a mile run every year and in fourth grade he won. At this point we really did not know how good of a runner he would become,” Tricia Schiltz, T.J.’s mother, said.

In seventh grade T.J. joined the school cross country team so he could run and that spring he joined track and field. After joining the track and field team and with the coaches Duey Ferber and Jay Crabtree working with him, he was running a mile in 5 minutes, 36 seconds on the varsity track team, Tricia said.

Running with track and field in seventh grade, opened Tricia’s eyes to how good T.J. really was.

“That entire school year I searched online to find things for running for him and found a camp in Waseca. From there we moved on to traveling all over for his running,” Tricia said.

Tricia has driven him across the county for running. He has gone to Virginia for the Junior Olympics and to Alabama for the National’s in the Junior Olympics for cross country.

All of the effort put into running this season has really paid off.

“I have broken two records in track and field this year,” T.J. said. “The records had been held by Keith Berg since 1996, the year I was born,” T.J. said.

The 1,600-meter record was 4:42.3, T.J. ran it in 4:37.08. and the 3,200-meter record was 10:09, and he ran it in 10:07 in the middle of May. T.J. then broke his own record by running the 3,200-meter in 9:58.

“T.J. has a drive that most kids don’t have,” track and field coach Duey Ferber said. “He runs more miles in one month than most kids run in a year.”

Being a part of the track and field team has impacted T.J.’s life on and off the track. When on the track he is dedicated to doing the best he can, but when off he is looking for ways to help people out. He has helped clean up tornado disasters in the area and helps around the house whenever something needs done.

“T.J. is a very humble runner and person. He is always the first person to go and shake everyone’s hand that has been in a race with him, even if other runners turn and walk away,” Tricia said.

T.J.’s parents are very supportive with him running in track and field and attend all of his events.

Tricia said she loves every minute of watching T.J. run, and T.J.’s father, Tom, also attends as many events possible, although he works long hours to help pay for the expenses involved with running.

Although T.J. has broken two school records, he has set future track and field goals. He wants to run the 1,600-meter in 4:15, the 3,200-meter in 9:32 and hopes to receive a college scholarship for track and field.

“Whether it is cross country or track and field, T.J. loves to run,” Tricia said.

T.J. qualified for the state track and field competition, which is Friday and Saturday at Hamline University in St. Paul.