WIAA state track: De Pere’s Swiekatowski takes D1 pole vault title

WIAA state track  De Pere's Swiekatowski takes D1

LA CROSSE — There’s a statue of an eagle in front of Veterans Memorial Stadium.

There were a pair of Redbirds flying high inside of it Friday.

De Pere sophomores Kylie Swiekatowski and Shae Opichka both reached the podium in the WIAA Division 1 girls pole vault at the state track and field meet.

After placing third as a freshman, Swiekatowski won the event by clearing 12 feet, 3 inches on her first attempt.

Opichka, who was the top seed entering her first state meet, made 11-6 to place fourth.

Since the duo had exchanged the school record five times this season, it was only fitting they ended the season by exchanging a hug.

“We knew we were going to push each other,” Swiekatowski said, “and hopefully one of us was going to come out on top.”

Swiekatowski is the eighth WIAA girls state track and field champion in De Pere’s history and first since 2002, when Caitlin Shannon won the 800- and 1,600-meter runs.

“It feels amazing,” Swiekatowski said. “I don’t even know how to describe it.”

In January, Swiekatowski and Opichka went to a pole vault camp together in Reno, Nev., to enhance their skills.

The extra work helped them become two of five girls in the state this season to clear 12 feet.

“We’ve just been pushing each other,” Opichka said. “It’s really nice to have two good vaulters on the same team. Whenever I’m down, she’ll just bring me back up.”

Swiekatowski reset the school record at regionals by clearing 12-7, which ranked second on the state honor roll.

The height is the WIAA state record for all divisions that Wrightstown’s Bonnie Draxler set as a sophomore.

Swiekatowski tried to break it Friday.

After watching Hartland Arrowhead senior Taylor Amann miss three times from 12-3 to finish as runner-up, Swiekatowski had the bar raised to 12-8 to go after WIAA state record.

However, she said it was extra tough after she ran a leg on De Pere’s 400 relay team, which earned a No. 3 seed for today’s finals.

“I was getting exhausted because it was a long day,” Swiekatowski said. “I knew I didn’t have many more vaults left in me, so I went big.”

Ashwaubenon senior Rachael Whitefield finished one place short of the podium in taking seventh in her second state appearance.




*** The articles that we post on this website are searched from the Internet and don’t reflect our views.  VAULTER Magazine LLC. is bringing the pole vault news to the reader in one central location. ***

Leave A Comment