When Teresa Stadem graduated from Richfield High School in 1999, she had lettered four years in track, was the team captain and also a school record holder in the 4x100, 4x200 and 4x400 relay! After graduating, she attended Morningside University, where she ran D2 track and was also a captain, a school record holder and qualified for nationals.
Her love for the sport only increased when she started coaching 15 years ago. “I have coached my entire track career at Richfield High School,” says Teresa. “I started as an assistant coach, coaching hurdles and high jump. I became the head boys coach when longtime coach Dean Breuer left the program. Over the years, I have had the privilege to coach many student athletes who became individual event conference champions, school record holders, and state qualifiers and placers.”
“My favorite part of coaching is being able to interact with students in a nonacademic setting,” explains Teresa. “It gives me the opportunity to see different parts of their personalities that don’t always show up in the classroom. In addition, it is another place where students can feel seen, comfortable and successful.”
When reflecting on her coaching highlights, Teresa says “I have so many it is hard to pick. Each season and each athlete brings a favorite moment. If you ask me in five years it may be different, but for now I would have to say winning the Tri-Metro Conference championship this past season. Obviously winning is amazing, but it is a highlight because of the joy and pride the athletes and coaches felt. I will never forget the smiles on their faces and all of them passing the trophy around.”
Her goals for the program are to continue to grow the size of the team. “Track is an inclusive sport,” she explains. “We have something for every skill type. I just want to give more students an opportunity to build on their talents, discover new interests and connect with their peers.”
When asked about athletics at Richfield High School, she says “Richfield is full of amazing student athletes and coaches. We have some of the most talented and dedicated coaches who invest so much of their time into helping their students become not just better athletes, but better people. Our athletes are truly amazing with how they juggle school, work, home and sports. Our student athletes care for each other and support each other like no other teams I have seen in the state.”
At the end of the 2022 season, Teresa was named the 3AA Section Coach of the Year after leading the RHS track team to a second-place finish in the section meet.
“It meant a lot to me to receive that award because I believe that it really recognizes what my coaching staff and the student athletes were able to accomplish during the season,” she explains. “People were looking at me and our team because we were a force when we stepped on the track. People saw the way our athletes supported each other and improved from one meet to the next and wanted to recognize Richfield for those accomplishments. I really feel that the award was won by the whole team, from the coaching staff to the athletes and managers.”
In addition to coaching, Teresa teaches in the Richfield College Experience Program, an alternative high school that provides a learning environment for students whose traditional learning environment and models have not been successful. “We really work to eliminate and decrease barriers to learning that sometimes exist for students, making it hard for them to focus on academics and be successful,” says Teresa. “I teach English Language Arts, as well as being the Tech lead and a member of the leadership team.”