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Royal Couple Reflects on BVU Homecoming Bonds

October 13, 2020 5:12am

Tania Toj wore the crown as homecoming queen at Postville High School four years ago. On Friday night, the crown was placed on her head as 2020 Buena Vista University Homecoming queen.

Seconds later, Tanner Frost was named BVU Homecoming king. Unlike his royal counterpart, Frost had never been the member of any royal family until this weekend.

“We had three courts at Boone High School; homecoming, winter formal, and prom,” Frost says. “I didn’t make any of them!”

So, while Friday evening was a much different experience for BVU’s king, it was more of the same for the queen. A bit of a contradiction that seems appropriate for a festive weekend marked by physical distancing, masks, and virtual celebrations, trademarks of a year playing out in a pandemic.

“We were so happy to be able to provide fun and engaging activities to celebrate Homecoming while staying safe throughout the week,” says Erica Swanson, Assistant Director of Campus Activities and Leadership. “Although it looked a little different this year, we were still able to keep our traditions alive and celebrate what it means to be a Beaver in a new, virtual way.”

Some standards such as trivia for undergraduates, BVU spirit prize drawings for alumni (spanning eight decades), and a salute to the Cornerstone Guard (Class of 1970) remained in place, while other hits such as Homecoming spirit giveaways to all students, virtual trivia for alumni, and a livestream of the Coronation ceremony by BVTV will likely return in future years.

“I did every single event for Homecoming,” says Frost, one of four football players on the royal court. “By participating in everything I could, it made Homecoming feel a little more normal. Of course, I really missed having the football game and seeing alumni come back to campus.”

Frost plays middle linebacker for the Beavers. He practiced on Sunday and was referred to as “king” by a few of his coaches and teammates. He’ll continue working out this fall, helping to guide a team that envisions American Rivers Conference contests come springtime.

The same goes for the queen, who reports to the Fritcher Fitness Center in Siebens Fieldhouse a few times each week to lift weights, readying herself and leading others as the women’s soccer team girds for springtime competition. Toj didn’t participate in soccer her first two years at BVU. A triple-major studying accounting, business, and Spanish, she tried out for the team as a junior, and has seen her collegiate varsity career may match that of her high school experience, where she played three years of soccer for the Postville Pirates.

“The difference is that at Postville, I played on the boys’ team,” Toj says. “We didn’t have girls’ soccer.”

Toj will spend this spring on the pitch for BVU while completing internships in business and Spanish.

Frost, on the other hand, has done a pair of digital media internships in Storm Lake and Des Moines.  The digital media major will immerse himself in campus media (The Tack, BVTV, and KBVU) as his time on campus concludes simultaneously with a final football campaign.

Both the kind and queen, who indicate a preference to begin their careers in their home state, have wonderful memories of their undergraduate stays, a time stamped as they high-fived one another at the Coronation ceremony inside Siebens Fieldhouse on Friday.

The relationships they’ve nurtured among faculty and staff members will serve both well in the future. Their friendships among the BVU Class of 2021 promise to last until their own Cornerstone Guard celebration, at Homecoming 2070, if not longer.

(The 2020 Buena Vista University homecoming court includes the following, from left: Savanna Pohlmann, Papillion, Neb; Cassidy Miller, Dumont;  McKenzie Lansing, Delaware; Erin Gerke, Newell; Tania Toj, Postville; Tanner Frost, Boone; John Corcoran, Albuquerque, N.M.; Reed Kruse, Newell; Eric Pacheco, Kearney, Neb.; and Devon Van Houten, Saydel)


“There are friends I made here as a freshman that I would consider as part of my family,” Toj says.

“I was honored just to be included on the first cut of 20 seniors up for Homecoming court,” Frost concludes. “They’re all great people, a great representation of our campus. I know I’m biased when it comes to our class, but I also know it’s full of people who’ve done so much for BVU and our community. I’m proud to be a part of it.”

Toj and Frost were joined on the court by the following members of their BVU class: Cassidy Miller, Dumont; John Corcoran, of Albuquerque, N.M.; McKenzie Lansing, of Delaware; Reed Kruse, Newell; Eric Pacheco, Kearney, Neb.; Erin Gerke, Newell; Devon Van Houten, Saydel; and Savanna Pohlmann, Papillion, Neb.

(thanks to Tim Gallagher)