All-American Lynn Schneider Stoller ’05
Two-time All-American in indoor and outdoor women’s track & field shot put
B.A., Interdisciplinary, art
- M.F.A. in graphic design, Savannah College of Art and Design
- Senior creative strategist at Emspace + Lovgren, Omaha, Nebraska
- Married to Brian Stoller and living in Papillion, Nebraska
- Selected to the Midlands Business Journal’s 40 under 40 in 2018 and recognized as a YP (young professional) Changemaker by the Greater Omaha Chamber’s YP Summit
What was a significant failure you faced, and how did you overcome it?
My junior year I qualified and competed in the NCAA Track and Field Championships and unexpectedly broke into finals in 6th place. That alone was a huge accomplishment, but I coasted. I didn’t give it my all in finals thinking of only holding on to a Top 8, All-American finish, and saw the title slip away in the final round. I could have easily been a three-time All-American, but I didn’t seize the moment.
One year later I was in the finals once again, but this time in a much more comfortable lead at 6th place. I almost began coasting again. But after my fourth throw of six, I looked into the crowd and spotted my teammate, Brandi Rheberg Clark ’05. She was the only face not smiling. She had missed the cut for nationals by the smallest margin, and I realized at that moment, her PR [personal record] would have her sitting on the podium with me had she been granted the opportunity to compete.
This was not the time to coast. I was determined in that moment to give my last two throws everything I had. On the next I fell out of the front of the ring. But on the second, and my last throw as a Cornell indoor shot putter, perfection happened. It was the kind of moment you remember over 15 years later. With a perfect glide, and snap of my wrist, I threw the shot put a full 12 inches better than my best mark to date, and a top-three finish was in the books.
I waited 11 years to tell Brandi this story, and when I did, it was in front of the entire 2016 C-Club breakfast at my Hall of Fame induction ceremony. I used the entirety of my acceptance speech to recognize the contribution, accomplishments, and support of my teammate and friend. It was so rewarding to stand in front of Cornell’s greatest athletes and coaches and tell them how talented Brandi was, and how our competitiveness and “rivalry” was the catalyst of all my athletic achievements. Without Brandi, who had nearly missed the title of All-American and held many of our throwing records while we were at Cornell, I doubt I would have succeeded at the same level, nor have enjoyed the experience quite so much.
But the lesson I learned to overcome adversity was to surround yourself with those that make you stronger and push you to your limits, and never stand on a podium alone. For even in individual competitions, the team is essential to any and all success.