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Outstanding Media Service Award, Print Division: Stuart Groskreutz

Posted: Friday, March 1, 2024 - 2:40 PM

Stuart Groskreutz

Stuart Groskreutz is the 2024 recipient of the Minnesota State High School League's Outstanding Media Service Award in the Print Division.

Stillwater’s Stuart Groskreutz, a highly-respected do-it-all sports reporter-photographer-editor, prefers professional life in the background.

“It’s a little bit like being a referee,” he said. “You don’t want to be the story. You want to blend into the background a bit and not be noticed. When you aren’t noticed in those roles, you’ve done a great job.”

In a print journalism career that spans nearly three decades, Groskreutz has been the one patrolling the sidelines, keeping score, taking pictures, tapping a keyboard with award winning coverage and spending hours editing and designing pages in the wee hours to deliver the news of the day to the readers of the Stillwater Gazette.

But now he is in the spotlight as the recipient of the Minnesota State High School League’s 2024 Outstanding Media Service Award in the print division. He will be recognized on Saturday, March 23 during the Boys Basketball State Tournament. In April, he’s also set to receive a citation award from the Minnesota Football Coaches Association for meritorious service.

“It’s humbling and a little uncomfortable,” Groskreutz says of the recognition.

Groskreutz is a 1991 graduate of Litchfield High School. During his high school career, he played basketball and tennis. In 1989, the Dragons won the Class A tennis championship. He played No. 1 doubles on that championship team.

“I was just a kid that played and was along for the ride,” Groskreutz said. "It was a Cinderella-story kind of thing that created great memories. Being reflective now, that just might be why I got into this profession. You want to chronicle those amazing feats and memories.”

He went to Concordia (Moorhead) where he played tennis and majored in English. Groskreutz describes himself as a big serve-and-volley kind of tennis player. He also deadpans that he wasn’t fond of long points and rallies.

Groskreutz got a taste of the sports journalism world at the West Central Tribune in Willmar working as an intern. He’d take calls on heavy prep sports nights, complete with typing in box scores and writing game summaries. He eventually covered the sports department during the summer months when other staff were vacationing. He marveled at the journalism profession and was thrilled to contribute.

“When you read the newspaper as a kid, you had no idea what went into the production of the pages,” he said. “The pages just appeared every morning filled with news, weather and sports. I learned quickly how much goes into producing a respected news source.”

The naturally inquisitive Groskeutz would later move on to the Chippewa Falls (Wis.) Herald where he served four years as the sports editor. It was there that he met his wife, Sarah, and with her job situation in the Twin Cities, he eyed a move. The Stillwater Gazette had an opening in August of 2000 and he was selected to cover prep sports in the St. Croix River Valley, primarily Stillwater High School, a member school dripping with rich traditions of success, championships and colorful characters.

“The appeal of the job is the variety,” he says. “There are so many great coaches, athletes and community members. I feel very compelled to tell their stories. There aren’t many jobs in life that show up in newspapers for all to see. You have to be on top of your game all the time. If you take it easy one week, it will show in your work. People will notice.”

Groskreutz’s mindset is to not be complacent. Whether it's maneuvering into position to get a powerful photo, accurately breaking down a winning play that captures a championship or writing a compelling feature, he challenges himself each day on behalf of his legion of followers.

“Things are challenging in the newspaper industry so we have to stay on top of things,” he said. “It’s something I’ve really enjoyed. I see the people that don’t look forward to going to work. That isn’t the case for me.”

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