By Bill Jenks, III, Mayor
After finishing third during her first Olympic Trial attempt in the 2012 U.S. Olympic Trials for the heptathlon (a program made up of seven events) at Hayward Field in Eugene Oregon, and competing in the 2012 Summer Olympic Games In London, England, Rolla’s Chantae McMillan, a track star, graduate and High School All-American at Rolla High School, has made history. And in doing so, she has made our community extremely proud of her.
Regardless of whether you have been following the 2012 U.S. Olympic heptathlon team compete in the Summer Games in London, or if you are aware of the many accomplishments of Chantae’s distinguished track and field career at Rolla High School or the University of Nebraska where she was an All-American, 4-time Big 12 Champion, team captain and school record holder in the Indoor Pentathlon and Outdoor Heptathlon, there is reason to celebrate, take notice, and recognize the special achievements and accomplishments of this truly gifted and amazing athlete. Despite suffering a knee injury and undergoing surgery last summer, she made her Olympic debut in the 2012 Summer Games in London.
It goes without saying that the entire Rolla City Council and Rolla community are extremely proud of Chantae’s performance at the 2012 Summer Games in London, and how much pride and honor she has brought to Rolla High School, Rolla Public Schools, and the Rolla community throughout her stellar track and field career. A special thanks and recognition also has to go out to Chantae’s parents, Badger and Peggy McMillan, who reside in Rolla, and of course Rolla High School varsity track coach Don Knapp and Don’s wife, Joyce, who both played an integral role in Chantae’s track and field career while she was a student for four years at Rolla High School. Coach Knapp is known not only as a talented and gifted track coach, but also a remarkable mentor and motivational stand-out to the thousands of students and athletes he has coached throughout his distinguished coaching career at Rolla High School. It was only fitting that Coach Knapp and his wife, Joyce, attended both the 2012 Olympic Trials in Eugene, Oregon, and the 2012 Summer Games in London where they, along with Chantae’s parents, attended all of the heptathlon events Chantae competed in.
Chantae’s accomplishments as an extraordinary athlete with an Olympic legacy - that to many would be considered legendary in the Rolla area - are all the more timely and fitting, as over 4,000 students will be starting school in the Rolla Public School system on Aug. 14. Already a household name in the sports world and athletic record books at Rolla High School, Chantae’s accomplished career in track and field, combined with her academic accomplishments at RHS and the University of Nebraska, where she recently graduated, will give students and student athletes encouragement, motivation and inspiration today, and for years to come. That is truly a gift that many folks can only wish to bestow once in a lifetime. I am looking forward, along with the Rolla City Council, in formally recognizing and congratulating Chantae and her parents at a future Rolla City Council meeting. I’m sure the entire Rolla community will be thrilled to shower her with praise, pay tribute to her, and her accomplishments as an Olympic athlete. We wish Chantae only the very best to come!
Remarkably as it may seem to have Rolla’s Chantae McMillan compete in the 2012 Summer Olympics, I am also very proud to recognize and congratulate Tyrone Smith, a former track and field standout at Missouri S&T, who also competed in the 2012 Summer Olympic Games in London, and finished 12th in the finals of the long jump competition. Missouri S&T is known throughout the country and many parts of the world as a leader in research, science, engineering and technology, and student athletes like Tyrone Smith who have competed at the Olympic level, surely reflect the quality of student athlete at our own Missouri S&T. I’m sure the athletic department at Missouri S&T and faculty, staff and students are more than thrilled with the accomplishments of Mr. Smith and the great legacy he leaves at Missouri S&T and the Rolla community.
Enjoy the weekend and have a safe week!