Dan Stoll's track and field of dreams
When he isn't training, there is no place Heidelberg University men's track and field standout Dan Stoll would rather be than his beloved Milan. Not Milan, Italy -- the fashion capital of the world, mind you.
Milan, Ohio. Pronounced MY-lin. In nearby Erie County.
It's there -- not far from the birthplace of famed inventor Thomas Edison -- that another local legend can be found.
Stoll's Sweetcorn. Ears of corn so sweet that some locals swear the Stoll family sprinkles sugar on them before selling.
"The people of Huron, Norwalk and Milan are in love with it," said Dan, currently finishing up his undergraduate degree in psychology.
Stoll's Sweetcorn is led by family patriarch, Bud, Dan's grandfather. With the help of his children and grandchildren, Bud tends to about five acres of sweet corn on his property on Plank Road, close to U.S. 250.
Dan, his fellow 'Berg alum cousin Taylor (Stoll) Opfer '14, and the rest of the family pitch in to help with the seasonal product. There's more to it than just the corn, though.
"When it comes down to it, the corn stand gives me an excuse to hang out with my family," said Dan. "That's what makes it so enjoyable."
Dan, a holder of two school records, is one of just a handful of Heidelberg track and field athletes to qualify for nationals four times in their career. He was part of the 4x400 meter relay team that qualified for outdoors in 2017. In 2019, he seemed destined for a spot on the podium in the 400 meter dash during the 2019 indoor season until an injury at the OAC championships derailed his season.
Undeterred, Dan battled back from the injury and seemed better than ever. For the 2020 indoor championships, he had qualified in both the 200 meter and 400 meter dash. One day before the start of the event, the NCAA canceled the championships as the COVID-19 pandemic was dominating the national news.
"It was devastating to end last season and what I thought might be my career. I don't think I've ever been more confident before a meet in my life.," he said. During the spring, the NCAA bestowed All-American status on Stoll and all of the qualifiers. "It was nice to receive that honor, but for me personally, I hadn't done anything different that I did before."
Like all of Heidelberg's student-athletes, Dan is anxiously awaiting the spring semester, thirsty for a chance to compete once again.
"Having qualified four times and never having had a chance to race in the finals at nationals, I am really motivated this year to go out and have a good outdoor season," said Dan. "I'm super excited to be back and to be able to get to work with everyone again, and hopefully help to create a winning culture again at Heidelberg."
To get your hands on some of the famous Stoll's Sweetcorn, you need to be fast. Not Dan Stoll fast, but fast enough.
"We sell out each day," said Dan. "And the whole crop is gone in little over a month."