LA CROSSE — When Monroe sophomore Cade Meyer cleared 6 feet, 8 inches in the boys high jump earlier this season, Lakeside Lutheran junior Collin Schulz realized he had a serious challenger to the crown he wore as the defending Division 2 state champion in that event.
Meyer had one miss midway through the state meet, but overcame it by clearing 6-9 to win this year’s title at the WIAA Division 2 state track and field meet Friday in La Crosse.
For his part, Schulz was the cleanest of five competitors to clear 6-6, the height he crested to win last year’s state title. That gave him runner-up honors on tiebreaker criterion.
“That is me, signature height,” Schulz said.
For a portion of this season, Schulz was missing his usual mark and was merely winning meet after meet with a top jump of 6-4. But he didn’t panic and got back to vintage form in time for the postseason.
“Over the course of the season, you kind of get a little worn down and tired,” Schulz said. “At points, your body is fatigued a lot. So it was kind of nice to have this big break this last week and a half to just kind of recuperate and go over things we had to go over.
“(Competition like I saw today), it’s always good. You’ve got to be humbled a lot. It wasn’t my year. I’m OK with that. I’m just going to come back next year.
“(Meyer) cleared 6-8. I was feeling good and then the 6-7 jumps just didn’t feel too good. Always room for improvement.”
When Schulz competed last year, it was with more peace of mind because his mind was clear and he was just competing. The added pressure of repeating as a state champion was a little much for the junior.
That said, competing in his second state meet came with a reduced level of stress knowing he’d had success on the state before.
“It felt great,” Schulz said. “I felt really confident. Just the experience added a whole lot. A lot less nerves.”
Lakeside Lutheran brought another respectable number of athletes to state and all of them competed on Friday.
Lakeside’s girls competed in two relay events which did not make the finals.
The 800-meter relay team of junior Annika Bilitz, senior Kaitlyn Shadoski and juniors Lauren Thiele and Janae Jensen finished 11th in 1:47.68 to miss the finals by .18 of a second. The same foursome finished 13th in the 400 relay in 50.85. That time missed the cut by .33 of a second.
Shadoski battled leg injuries early in the season and rebounded to help lead the Warriors back to state. Shadoski has run in the relay all four years of her high school career.
“Her senior leadership has been fantastic,” Lakeside coach Nate Sievert said. “She’s calm, level-headed and didn’t get excited in a distracting way for the rest of the crew.
“She’s positive with her comments, so if handoffs aren’t going right, she knows how to address it and get it fixed. She gives off a constant feeling that everything is going to be fine and everything is OK.”
“It was definitely frustrating with all of my jumps and stuff like that,” Shadoski said.
“I felt like I could never get the explosiveness that I had. It was frustrating, but I feel like my biggest thing was to get rest. ...
“As the only senior on the relay, I felt like the most important thing I could bring was leadership and an emphasis on the importance of communication and teamwork. I’m just one leg, but my goal was to just keep the girls together and aim toward our goals.”