History

Four families started the Central Wisconsin Speed Skating Club in 1992, a year after Donna Cleveland(a founding member) ran a newspaper ad searching for people to practice speed skating together. The goal was to get ready to skate in the Badger State Winter Games. Four families responded to the newspaper ad and began meeting at the John Marshall Elementary School library to hammer out a constitution and by-laws to organize the club. Donna Cleveland was elected President, Mike Affholter Vice President, Brian Mesenberg Secretary, Diane Zeger Treasurer. Millard “Doc” Savage the Development Committee Chairman for the Amateur Speed Skating Union guided the club formation and with the help of a local attorney all the legal documents were officially drawn up to incorporate the club and in 1994 CWSSC was formally founded with the same set of principal officers.

Ice time and equipment was extremely limited in those early days. CWSSC rented skates from the Waupaca club and skated on Shadow Lake with them whenever club members could get down there. In Wausau, speed skating for the Badger State Winter Games was done on a 250 meter oval at Newman High School. When the ice rink was ready for the BSWG, the club skaters drove their cars onto the field in order to illuminate the rink so they could practice at night. Realizing the need for more ice time for better training, the club occasionally rented some ice on the then half-enclosed rink 2 at Marathon Park. The following year, the hockey teams at Wausau West and East High schools each gave up a half hour a week on rink 2 in order to give club skaters an hour a week to start regular practices. With a more visible program, additional skaters were attracted to the club, which made covering the ice cost, $40-$45 dollars an hour possible. Safety mats, which were a necessity when skating indoor on the short track rink, were collected from Wausau Hospital when they were ready to replace their old foam mattresses, Over the course of a couple years the club accumulated 33 mattresses. Unfortunately, there was no place to store pads at the Marathon Park rink, so an enclosed trailer was borrowed to store the mattresses and each practice session started and ended by hauling the mattresses between a trailer and the ice rink.

As the club grew and the Greenheck facility was in its early planning stages in 1996, Mike Affholter saw an opportunity to grow the short track program by approaching Greenheck planners with the idea to make the rink 100 x 200 instead of the standard hockey size. The increase in size would allow the club to host major short track speed skating events. CWSSC has hosted the Wisconsin/Minnesota State Short Track Championships and the Central Wisconsin Short Track Open. Other competitions that have been held here are the 2001 North American Short Track Championships, 2005 American Cup-World Team Trials, the 2006 Junior Short Track Championships-Junior World Team Trials, and 2010 US Nationals and American Cup Finals.

Club skaters have continued to progress over the years and place at the top of their divisions at local, competitions. A few past skating members have advanced to participate with the Olympic Development Training Team in Marquette, MI. We are proud that 3 of our members competed in the Olympic trials in September 2009 vying for a place on the Olympic Team. Although they did not make the team we hope to have future members try out at the Olympic level.