Athletes compete at state meet
By Greg Seubert
Fourth-best in the state.
Not bad for someone who missed more than half of her track season while recovering from an injury.
That turned out to be the case for Weyauwega-Fremont senior Becky Schroeder, who tied for fourth place in the girls’ Division 2 high jump event June 2 during the first day of the WIAA State Track & Field Championships in La Crosse.
She wasn’t the only area senior to find success in their final high school track competition.
Iola-Scandinavia’s Leighten Fischer placed third in the girls’ D3 300-meter hurdles; Wild Rose’s Ashley Caswell joined Olivia Jenkinson, Olivia Bennot and Maya Dix on the D3 state champion 800-meter relay team and also placed second and third in the 200- and 100-meter dash, respectively; Wild Rose’s Maya Dix turned in a fourth-place finish in the girls’ D3 long jump; and Amherst’s Josh Cisewski finished fifth in the D2 boys’ long jump.
Schroeder moved up a division after finishing third last year in D3 and helping the W-F girls place second as a team.
She had a top height of 5 feet, 4 inches, which tied her with Richland Center’s Madison Rizner. The top three competitors, including champion Mariah Hoepner of Altoona, had jumps of 5 feet, 5 inches.
“She jumped really well at state,” coach Jered Wilson said. “She also tied the school record from 1982 and now shares that record with Lisa Wichman.”
Fischer’s final trip to state didn’t exactly start out with a bang.
Although she qualified for the finals in the 300 hurdles and 100 and as a member of the Thunderbirds’ 1,600-meter relay team, she also didn’t place in the long jump competition, an event she placed seventh in last year.
That all changed on the second day of the state meet with her time of 45.88 in the 300 hurdles, good enough for third place.
“Yesterday, I was seeded third (in the 300 hurdles) and today, I was like ‘I have to do the same thing,’” Fischer said. “It’s tough because you never know what somebody else can run. It’s hot out here and everyone’s going to compete either worse or better.”
Reedsville’s Faith Lubner went on to win the race in 44:02 for her fourth straight state title in the event.
“It actually pushes me,” Fischer said. “She’s a great athlete and a great 300 hurdler. It’s super-sweet to run against somebody who’s won it four years in a row and she’s going to the same school as me, too (St. Cloud State).”
Unlike Lubner, Fischer came into her senior season without a 300 hurdle race under her belt.
“I never wanted to try it,” she said. “I guess I was scared because I could never make it over a hurdle. I wish I did start it sooner, but I’m thankful that I got the opportunity to stand up there (on the podium) my senior year in an event I just started.”
Fischer is the first to admit she has no idea why the 300 hurdles event clicked for her.
“I don’t know,” she said. “If you would have seen me at first, it wasn’t very pretty to see, but I picked up on it really fast. It’s my favorite event. I love it. It’s a good race.”
Now that her final track season is over, Fischer will prepare for heading to St. Cloud State, where she plans to join the track team.
“I’m not ready for it to be done, but I’m extremely excited to run at college next year and have that opportunity,” she said.
The trip to state caps a senior year for Fischer that also included another trip to the WIAA State Cross Country Meet and a first-team all-conference selection in basketball.
She said she’s also ready to take that leap from a small-town high school to a Division II college track program.
“I guess, as ready as I’ll ever be,” she said. “It’s been a really great experience and I wouldn’t trade it for the world.”
Going out with a bang
Cisewski entered his competition with the second-best qualifying distance of 22 feet, 3 inches, only 1 inch less than top qualifier Logan Rasmussen of Whitewater.
His first jump of 21 feet, 6 1/2 inches turned out to be his best at state, but Ben Dunkleberger of Lake Mills had a 23-foot effort on his first jump and it was good enough to win the event.
“Twenty-three feet, I thought he had the (state) record, to be honest,” Cisweski said. “He was right there. It makes you think, ‘I really have to go on my next jump, I really have to get explosive.
“I’m a little disappointed, but I still made the podium, so I can’t really ask for anything else,” he added. “This is the frosting on the cake. I definitely had the confidence going in. I had a few jumps that felt really good, but you scratch by an inch or something and the whole entire jump’s done.”
Cisewski placed second in the event two years ago as a sophomore. His other accomplishments in Amherst include playing on the Falcons’ D5 state championship football teams in 2016 and 2015.
“Football is the same kind of adrenaline rush, but track’s a little different because it’s more personal,” he said. “It’s what you do, a little personal pride.”
No repeat this year
Kisting shaved 7 seconds off of her sectional qualifying time in the 1,600 and finished in 5:12.62 in a race she won last year as a sophomore.
Ozaukee’s Elise Loarge won the race in 5:07.85.
“I give her credit, that was an amazing time,” said Kisting, who also won last year’s 3,200 race. “That’s what I was shooting for today. Today wasn’t my day, but that just means I have to train harder and go for it next year. I got 5:09 my freshman year, so that’s what I’m shooting for.”
She entered the race’s final lap in fourth place, but soon dropped back as Loarge added to her lead.
“I just didn’t have the right position,” Kisting said. “I got boxed in and had to slow down to get out to where I wanted to be and lost a little momentum there.”
Besides coming into the 1,600 as the defending champion, she was also the No. 2 seed behind Large.
“It’s always my goal to get to that top podium, but as long as I run that race and punch it as much as I can, that’s all I can ask for,” she said.
Dix came up with a long jump of 17 feet, 2 1/4 inches while also placing 11th in the triple jump and running a leg of the Wildcats’ state champion 800-meter relay team.
“My goal is to always make it to the podium in individual events,” she said. “This is my first year that I did it and it feels so good.”
Dix had several of her teammates that also qualified for this year’s state meet.
“We always come down not overconfident, but definitely confident that we’re going to do well,” she said. “We have great coaches that keep us in check. We’re ready when we’re down here. When we’re practicing for state, some teams only have a couple of people practicing, but we have half our team. We have a good program and I wouldn’t want to go anywhere else.”
A four-year state qualifier, Dix knows this year’s state meet could be her final competition.
“I think it’s going to sink in after state’s over and I’m done with all my events,” she said. “I think it’ll really sink in then.”