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Schnitker To Run At Southern Illinois University Carbondale

Brandon Schnitker will continue his atheltic career at Southern Illinois University Carbondale after graduation. Brandon is seated between his parents Brad and Kris Schnitker. Standing is NCHS Assistant Boys Track Coach Doug Kell, NCHS Head Boys Track Coach Tom Taylor, NCHS Principal Mark Begando, NCHS Dean of Students Jennifer Maschhoff, NCHS Cross Country Coach Jean Orr, and NCHS Athletic Director Alicia Heggemeier.
By Brent Huelsmann
After a high school career full of accolades,  Brandon Schnitker will continue his athletic career at the next level as a member of the Southern Illinois University Carbondale Cross Country and track teams. Schnitker has been named All-State in Cross Country and Track, All-South, All-Conference, and holds two school records at NCHS. Schnitker holds the record for the 800M run and is a part of the record holding 4X800M relay team.
When asked why he chose SIU-Carbondale, Schnitker said, “I love their coach, Coach (Kevin) Cataldo was just a great fit from the beginning. He was one of the first coaches that started recruiting me, and it worked out perfect. I loved it. I didn’t want to go far from home, so it was a good fit. Their aviation program, which is what I’m going to study, which is a huge, huge program there, that’s mainly was the main choice of why I chose Carbondale.”
Schnitker is headed into his senior track season, where he is ready to pick up where he left off last season, and go for a state championship. “I’m going for that this year. It’s going to be a good race.”
As for what races Schnitker is going to run this season, NCHS Boys Track Coach Tom Taylor says there is still some things left to be decided.“It’s still kind of up in the air. I know we’re still looking at those relay teams. The 4X800, the 4X400 and definitely the open 800. He’s chomping at the bit for that state title.
As for the athlete that Schnitker is, Taylor said, “He’s going to be irreplaceable. We have kids coming up, they’re great athletes, but Schnitker, I’ve never seen anything like him. The way he leads this team. He’s already got the 4X800 record with a couple guys his sophomore year, and now the open 800 record last year. I can’t wait til his senior year.”
NCHS Cross Country coach Jean Orr talked about what Schnitker has meant to the cross country program. “As far as the program goes, he started as a freshmen, when I started as a coach. For me, he has been very important as far as keeping that continuity going. Really been a great leader for us, a super good leader. Even as a sophomore. Freshman maybe not as much, but as a sophomore just a wonderful leader.”
Orr went on to say about Schnitker, “I think just the way he goes about doing things really shows the kids the right way to do things. He’s going to be missed. It’s going to be some big shoes to fill, not just out there on the course, but definitely from that leadership standpoint.”
Whether it be cross country or track throughout his career, you could usually find Schnitker near the front of the pack in almost all the races he has competed in. Schnitker said the biggest adjustment for him at the next level would be not knowing who he is competing against every race. “It’s just going to be so different. Here you know who you are competing with. Up there, you don’t know. People are going to be at your level every race, every day no matter what.”
As for what he’s most looking forward to, Schnitker talked about being able to focus on running without having basketball in between. “I’m ready to where I can just run, run, run. That’s all I really like to do and want to do.”

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