LA CROSSE – Mitch Stegeman almost was out of chances, but he sure took advantage of his final one.
The Suring senior won the Division 3 pole vault title at the WIAA track and field meet on Saturday with a vault of 14 feet. It was 3 inches better than runner-up Tony Jopek of Crivitz.
Stegeman also reached the podium in the Division 3 high jump, finishing fifth with a jump of 6 feet, 2 inches.
After missing his first two attempts at 14, Stegeman cleared on his third to take home the championship.
He didn’t have a great warmup, which carried over to his first few attempts. But the higher the height, the better he started feeling. The temperature also started to cool down, which he loved.
“Freshman year, I was the top-seeded pole vaulter in all divisions,” said Stegeman, who also finished seventh in the 300 hurdles. “Sophomore year, the same. Last year, I didn’t go up any. But then this year, I got a new pole. My coach told me, she said, ‘We bought you a new pole, so you better win state now.’