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Crusader Strong – Celebrating Marian Athletics

Crusader Strong – Celebrating Marian Athletics
Emori Hamilton

Story by Susan Macaitis Rosenlof ‘82 | Photos by Debra Kaplan

When Marian was founded in 1955, athletic facilities were not included in the campus design. They weren’t needed. It would be nearly 20 years until the passage of Title IX in 1972 and the sanctioning of high school girls' sports. Change came gradually and Marian built its first gym in 1968. 

Today, Marian offers 11 NSAA sports consisting of 25 teams and 45 coaches, and 40% of the student body participates in athletics. Along with building programs, Marian has built facilities to support women's athletics. In addition to two gyms and a weight room, Marian now has a new outdoor athletic complex.

On April 13, 2023, Marian held a ribbon cutting ceremony to thank the generous donors who supported the $ 7 million renovation to the outdoor athletic complex. Donors, students, faculty, and staff gathered on the soccer field to celebrate the new facilities. 

In her remarks, Assistant Principal and Athletic Director Rochelle Rohlfs recounted how much has changed through the years. We’ve come a long way!

Tennis 

Then | Establish in 1972, the team practiced on the courts in Keystone Park and Fontanelle Park. In the early 90s, concrete was poured for the current courts to create a home facility. 

Now | New windscreens make the facility visible from the top of campus. Courts are resurfaced in bright green and blue.

Track 

Then | The track was once a pasture where horses grazed. For 48 years, Marian runners ran on the grass, the streets, the parking lot, and other schools’ tracks.

Now | Our home facility features a six-lane, all-weather track with a turf infield. 

Soccer 

Then | Marian soccer began as a club sport in the late 70s until it was sanctioned by the NSAA. Athletes practiced at other area fields. In 1981, work began to fill in the pond in preparation for a grass soccer field. For many years Marian’s field was considered the nicest FIFA-sized soccer field in Omaha. 

 

Now | Marian has the largest high school soccer turf field in Omaha, along with a new press box and LED scoreboard.

 

Softball 

Then | Marian’s softball began in 1989 as a club program before becoming state-sanctioned in 1993. In the early 90s the softball facility was built around a creek shared with the radio tower land.

 

Now | The first improvements since the field was built include new fencing, extended dugouts, a pitching warm-up area, and Marian’s first softball press box.   

 

Also New in 2023

Plaza and Concessions | Gathering space dedicated to fans 

 

MAC | The Marian Athletic Center will house a golf training lab, two indoor softball batting cages, and a large wrestling space for practice and training in a former warehouse north of the track.