LA CROSSE - For many track and field programs getting one athlete to the podium at any point in the weekend is a major accomplishment. Kimberly, managed to get two young men to the podium, with a third finishing just off the stand in the shot put alone. Matt Weinhold of Kimberly took the top prize, a year after coming in second. Bryson Kasper finished third and Marcus Matsche finished in eighth place, so three of the top eight shot putters in division one came from the same program.
"It feels great. Last year I took second so it's really special to come back this year and prove myself and take first," Matt Weinhold said. Kasper added that sharing the podium with a close friend adds to the moment. "To have us, Matt and I finish on the podium, we've been throwing since we were freshmen and it just feels phenomenal to get us up there in the same meet at state."
Kimberly not only has the three shot putters who made the final flight at the state meet, they have an entire host of throwers vying for time in the lineup. According to Kasper, six of them threw 50 feet or more this season. For reference, a throw of 50 feet at the state meet would be good enough for a twelfth place finish in division one. That kind of competition helps the Papermakers heave their implement to new distances.
"It's always a competition in practice. Every day is a competition. It's a friendly competition but we all want to be better than each other we all want to push each other to get better," Weinhold said. Throwing a heavy object a long distance is a very manly endeavor and that leads to some good natured ribbing in practice as well. "It makes you want to throw farther so you're not looking soft or anything," Kasper said with a big smile.
In the end though, Weinhold said the Papermakers' throwers remember they're all on the same side. "We're always rooting for each other but we're also competing. It's a fine line."
Kimberly advanced fourteen athletes to the state meet which means claiming a team trophy is a real possibility. The shot putters carried their weight, securing 17 points for the team.