For New Richmond track: It's the Year of the Kat as Keller earns three state medalsKat Keller completed one of the most successful girls track careers in New Richmond High School history by winning three medals in Division 1 sprint races at the 2012 WIAA State Track Championships at La Crosse on Saturday.
By: Dave Newman, New Richmond News
Kat Keller completed one of the most successful girls track careers in New Richmond High School history by winning three medals in Division 1 sprint races at the 2012 WIAA State Track Championships at La Crosse on Saturday.
Keller started the day by taking second in the 100 meter dash. She finished second to Elexis Fuller-Stewart of Milwaukee Bradley Tech, who won three individual championships on Saturday.
Next up for Keller was the 400 meter dash. She earned third place in this race, getting under the 58-second level for the second time in her career with a time of 57.53.
Keller’s final race was the 200 meter dash. She ran the best time of her career, 24.94 seconds, to place fourth.
Keller, who will be running for the University of Minnesota next year, earned 19 points with her three trips to the state medal podium. That placed the Tigers 10th among the 73 Division 1 teams who had athletes competing in the state meet.
One of the thousands of people who attended the meet was Keller’s future coach for the Gophers.
“He loved what she did,” said Tiger girls coach Judy Weiss. “He loves her grit.”
Keller ran right with the leaders throughout the 100 and 200 finals. The race that most impressed Weiss was the 400, where Keller made a tremendous charge late in the race.
Keller is one of a handful of girls who competed in the 100, 200 and 400 finals in any division at the state meet. Adding the 400 meters this season was a major step for Keller, showcasing her strength as much as her quickness. The 400 is also much more physically demanding, especially at state where she ran all three races both days.
“That 400 in the middle of the day is just a killer,” Weiss said.
The Tigers had four other events competing at state. Seniors Colton Simpson and Eli Kelley competed in individual events for the boys. Junior Anna McShane and the 3200 meter relay team competed at state for the girls.
The 3200 meter relay was the first event of the meet. The New Richmond team of senior Morgan Kelly, junior Emily Bischof, sophomore Maddie Kelly and freshman Kennedy Kling ran their best time of the season, 9:42.49, to place ninth. Weiss said all four of the girls ran strong splits. It was led by Morgan Kelly, who ran a career-best 2:20 800 in the final race of her high school career.
McShane completed her first full year of hurdling by taking 15th among 24 entries in the Division 1 100 meter hurdles. Weiss has become a fan of McShane’s drive to make herself better.
“She’s a competitor. She has a fire that burns pretty deep,” Weiss said.
Simpson was the first Tiger pole vaulter to advance to state in 15 years. He tied for 20th in the event by clearing the bar at 12 feet, 6 inches. This may have been the strongest pole vault field ever at state. The top seven vaulters all cleared 14 feet, 6 inches, which was the winning height in Division 1 a year ago.
“Colton handled himself really well,” said Tiger coach Roger Reuvers. “He was serious, focused.”
Kelley was another athlete competing in a heavily talented event, the 400 meters. Kelley was hoping to get under the 50-second mark for the first time in his career. The top 10 runners in the race all finished under 50 seconds. Kelley pushed himself hard early in the race, but couldn’t come up with the kick down the home stretch to stay with the leaders. He finished 18th with a time of 50.98 seconds.