Maurice J. Radtke, a Litchfield graduate, has one goal every time he enters the ring to throw an implement: throw better than he threw the time before.
That attitude and desire to continuously improve led to many, many victories, including the St. Louis Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SLIAC) title in the shot put in 2021. He would also finish sixth in the National Christian Collegiate Athletic Association shot put finals in 2021. In 2020, his season was unceremoniously ended by the coronavirus. But, before that happened, the Panther finished second in the SLIAC Indoor Finals in the shot put, recording a throw of 13.69 meters. But, he had thrown 14.56 meters during the season.
“I was headed in the right direction in 2020,” said Radtke. “That was the best year of my career. I was progressing nicely and then the season was cancelled. I just felt strong and ready for the season. After having such a good indoor season, the entire team was looking forward to an outdoor season. I was as well, it was heartbreaking when it did not happen. In my honest opinion, had we not had that interruption, that 2020 team would have set many new school and other records on the track and in the field.”
During his career, Greenville was wildly successful as a team. While the SLIAC did not always qualify for a conference finals, they have qualified to have a conference championship since the indoor season of 2020. Greenville not only won the indoor title in 2020, but they won both the indoor title and outdoor title in 2021. Previous to that, the SLIAC would combine with the American Midwest Conference and have a combined championship. Previous to that, the Panthers would compete in the SLIAC Invitational. In all cases, both in the meets that combined both conferences and the SLIAC Invitational, they were victorious during Radtke’s career.
On the national level, the Panthers were able to finish in the top five of the NCCAA Meet every time there was a scheduled meet. In 2019, they took third in the indoor championships and second in the outdoor national finals. They missed the national title that year, won by Bethel University, by a mere 17.33 points.
“I will miss my college teammates and my throws coach (Tom Broomfield),” said Radtke. “I think high school athletes are helped by doing many sports. Each sport helps you with other sports. A good football player will do wrestling to help with tackling and body coordination. That coordination helps with throwing. A thrower must know where they are in the ring without looking down and concentrating on your feet.”
The son of Curt and Betty Simmons of Litchfield plans to return to Greenville to earn a degree in exercise science and a minor in business. But, initially, he plans to take a break from college. After he earns his bachelor’s degree and his minor, he plans to join the military. After that, the former Greenville thrower plans to open a gymnasium that will cater to members of the United States military.
“I would like to open up something for veterans where they can relax, workout and have a spot to go away from the civilian world,” said Radtke. “I want them to feel comfortable. I would also like to get to the point where I help out a high school or middle school track team as well. The best part about being a part of a track and field team is even though you are competing as a member of that team, how you do in your particular event falls on your shoulders. It is you versus the you of yesterday.”
Dan Chamness is a freelance college sports writer. He can be contacted at Dan62801@aol.com.