LA CROSSE — Some may marvel at De Pere’s Kylie Swiekatowski’s last name, but now maybe they can be impressed about something else.
The sophomore won the Division 1 girls pole vault title at the state track and field meet Friday at the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse with a height of 12-3.
“It feels amazing,” Swiekatowski said. “I knew I had to do my best to win. I stuck with it and I’m in first.”
Swiekatowki entered the event seeded fourth with a height of 11-9, but showed during the event it was her day. Swiekatowski cleared 11-6 and 12 feet on her first attempt.
“It was good for me there was no misses,” Swiekatowski said. “The competition this year from last year bumped up. I knew I had to have a good day.”
Swiekatowski wasn’t even the highest seeded De Pere vaulter. Fellow sophomore Shae Opichka entered as one of three competitors with a top seed height of 12 feet. Opichka finished fourth with a height of 11-6, but Swiekatowski said her presence all season helped her.
“We’ve been going back and forth all season,” Swiekatowski said. “It has helped me all season, because I haven’t won all the meets. She’s pushed me through it.”
After clearing 12-3, Swiekatowski set the bar at 12-8, trying to break Wrightstown’s Bonnie Draxler’s all-division record of 12-7. Swiekatowski cleared 12-7 this season, but wasn’t able to claer 12-8.
“None of my attempts were super great,” Swiekatoiwski said.
Hiedeman captures triple jump
Natisha Hiedeman’s strategy entering Friday’s Division 1 girls triple jump was simple — set the mark to beat early and then see what happens.
The junior from Green Bay Southwest did just that, with a leap of 38-7 3/4 in preliminaries and the distance held up as the Trojan won her first state title after placing second a year ago.
“It’s a feeling you can’t really describe, it’s awesome,” Hiedeman said. “Glad I can bring a state championship back to Southwest.”
Hiedeman’s state championship leap was in her second attempt of the day as she set the tone for the rest of the field.
“I was seeded No. 1 so I wanted to stay there,” Hiedeman said. “I wanted to get a big jump early and try to improve from there.”
Hiedeman admitted her second-place finish last year fueled her Friday and it might help her Saturday in the long jump, where she is seeded fifth.
“Yeah, now I’m not worried about that,” Hiedeman said.
Hiedeman’s brother, Seymour’s Sandy Cohen, won the Division 2 triple jump title a year ago. She said he doesn’t brag about it but it might be different for her.
“He doesn’t brag about it, but I’m going to now,” she said smiling.
Neenah’s 3,200 relay wins again
For the fourth year in a row the Neenah girls opened the state meet by winning the 3,200-meter relay, and for the last time twin sisters Jessica and Jennifer Parker ran together.
Teamed with freshman Morgan McClone and senior Jessie Laabs the Rockets cruised to an easy win in a time of 9:10.97, winning by almost six seconds over second-place Middleton.
“There really are no words to describe it,” Jessica Parker said. “We’ve put in so much work. To see all our efforts just come true it feels really good.”
“It’s already been so great with the first race,” Jennifer Parker said. “It sets the tone for the rest of the weekend.”
The previous three years the Parkers ran with older sister Alison, who graduated last year. Alison was in attendance to watch her sisters, who said they were focused on making this a memorable race.
“I think we were just trying to make this experience memorable and have fun in our last relay,” Jennifer said.
Follow Doug Ritchay on Twitter @dougritchay