Kietlinski’s title leads area boys at state

Gillett’s Peterson part of trio of top-5 finishes
Morgan Rode
Sports Editor

Bowler High School senior Emmitt Kietlinski won a state title and nearly claimed a second during the Wisconsin Interscholastic Athletic Association Track and Field State Championships, held June 2-3 at Veterans Memorial Stadium Complex in La Crosse.

Kietlinski, who was representing the Gresham/Bowler co-op, opened state competing in the Division 3 high jump competition June 2. He won the event after clearing 6 feet, 6 inches.

Kietlinski then took part in the triple jump competition on June 3, finishing second after a top leap of 44-9¼.

“This was very special to me,” said Kietlinski. “First off, I’m just so thankful for the opportunity to come here and how well I’ve done here the past three years. It means a lot to me, and I’m really happy that I got a first and a second in my very last time here at state — it’s something I’ll always remember.”

Kietlinski turned in some of the top high jump marks in the state during the season and came to La Crosse seeded as the second-best jumper.

Kietlinski made things look easy at state, clearing 5-10, 6 feet, 6-2, 6-4 and 6-5 on his first attempts. As the Bowler senior was clearing the bar with relative ease, his competition was dwindling.

When he missed his first jump at 6-6, only two other jumpers remained. Kietlinski cleared 6-6 on his second attempt and his two competitors were unable to clear that height after three attempts, so Kietlinski was crowned the champion.

“It feels great,” said Kietlinski, minutes after winning the state title. “After getting second last year, I mean I was really happy at the time but soon after that I was so disappointed and the whole year I was like, ‘I gotta be a state champion, gotta be a state champion.’ This whole week — well, the whole year, but especially this whole week — every morning I woke up and every day I was like, ‘I know I’m going to do it; I’m gonna be a state champion.’ I had so much confidence. I didn’t have any doubt.

“This morning, I woke up and was like, ‘I’m gonna be a state champion; I have no doubt about it.’ And I came here and felt great, and I can’t believe it actually happened now. It’s awesome.”

Kietlinski said that after last year’s near-top finish, he put in a lot of time working on his core, along with his jump. He focused on being consistent.

“I know state comes down to one day, but if you’re really consistent the whole year, that comes in big down the line,” said Kietlinski. “So I knew that if I was consistent, I’d be able to do well and hopefully win.”

In the triple jump competition, Kietlinski was near the top of the leaderboard the whole competition after a first jump of 43-10½.

He sat in second place from the first jump of the prelim round until the second of three final jumps. Kietlinski then took the lead with a leap of 44-2½.

Kietlinski’s mark led the way going into the last set of jumps, and then he extended the top mark out to 44-9¼.

Just when Kietlinski thought he had another state title locked up, Elmwood-Plum City’s Trevor Asher topped him on the last attempt of the finals with a jump of 45-3¼.

Even after falling just short, the smile that was spread across Kietlinski’s face after the high jump competition was still there as he walked off the track.

“It means a lot to me. I was really hoping to win it, obviously, and I was a little disappointed that I didn’t, but I’m still really happy that I got second,” said Kietlinski.


Senior Alex Peterson also enjoyed a special trip to state while running for Gillett.

Peterson competed in two individual events and on a relay team, placing in the top five in all three.

Peterson placed fourth in the Division 3 1,600-meter race on June 3 with a time of 4 minutes, 20.53 seconds and was fifth in the 3,200 (9:37.61) on June 2. He was also on the boys 4x800 relay team that opened state with a fifth-place finish in 8:13.6.

Peterson recalled coming into the season knowing he’d be running the 3,200, along with the 4x800 relay. He competed in the 1,600 all season too, trying to beat the school record. But he said he got frustrated when he wasn’t able to break 4:30.

He ran the 1,600 at the conference meet, thinking it could be the last time he’d run the race if he didn’t run well. Instead, he ran a 4:22.7. “That showed me that, ‘Why don’t we add the 1,600 and see how it goes?’” he recalled. “I’m really glad we did and to make it (to state) in three events, it’s just really incredible.”

Peterson not only made it to state in the 1,600, but he finished less than five seconds off the top mark.

Peterson was about a second behind eventual champ Charlie Vater of Iola-Scandinavia after the first lap. Vater built a three-plus second lead after two laps, and Peterson settled into a battle for second with two other runners. The three runners swapped the lead on multiple occasions, with Peterson eventually taking fourth, just 0.15 seconds off third and 0.27 off second.

“Just going into today knowing it was my last race, I had the goal: More than anything, I just wanted to run a great race altogether — like a full, complete race,” Peterson said. “I felt like I did that today, so I’m pretty happy.”

The 1,600 was nearly a replica of the 3,200 the day prior, as Peterson was right with the leaders after a lap and then part of a battle for second behind eventual champ Vater. The second-place runner changed multiple times during the final six laps, with Peterson holding that spot twice before settling for fifth.

The Gillett boys 4x800 relay team was part of the first state running event on June 2. Evan Peterson, Bradyn Wendorff and Ben Matczak joined Alex Peterson.

The Tigers sat in fourth after the first leg before moving to second at the halfway point. Gillett dropped back to fifth after the third leg and held that spot the rest of the way.

“I thought our team did amazing,” said Evan Peterson. “We all ran our hearts out and left it all on the track. As a team, we ran a PR and broke our school record that we set at sectionals. That’s all we can ask for, that we ran as fast as we could and left it all on the track.”


Bonduel’s Karter Schroeder and Ryan Westrich both competed in field events at state on June 2.

Schroeder placed ninth in the D3 high jump competition, while Westrich took eighth in the shot put.

Schroeder cleared 5-10 on his first attempt and then 6 feet on his third and final try. The senior was unable to clear 6-2.

“I thought I did solid at state today,” said Schroeder. “Wish I could’ve done better and got 6-2 because I had the height for it, but some minor technique flaws held me back. To finish in the top 10 made me feel happy and proud of all the work I put in during my high school career.”

Westrich was in the first of two shot put flights and advanced to the finals after making his top throw on the final prelim attempt.

The freshman was able to post three marks in the three final attempts, but he was unable to improve his mark of 47-8.

“Taking eighth at state is great, but I really believe if I work on technique and get stronger in the weight room that I could have a chance of doing better in the future,” said Westrich. “That is what will motivate me to perform at a higher level in the coming years.”


One of Westrich’s competitors in the shot put was Lena’s Anthony Seefeldt.

The junior finished one spot ahead of Westrich, after a top throw of 47-10½.

Seefeldt was also part of the first flight of throwers, but he posted two marks that would have pushed him into the finals. His top throw came on his second of three finals attempts.

“Placing seventh was awesome; it just motivates me to just go out there next year and throw farther,” said Seefeldt. “I saw what I could do this year; now I want to do better and get on the podium.”


Pulaski’s Jack Marsh competed in a loaded Division 1 discus field, placing eighth with a top throw of 165-6.

Marsh was in the last of three flights of throwers and had to wait a couple extra hours to throw after a long weather delay pushed D1 action back on June 2.

His top throw came in his second prelim attempt, which put him comfortably in the finals. He wasn’t able to extend that distance in his final throws but said, “placing is nothing to be upset about.”

Marsh was less than 3 feet away from going home with a fourth-place state finish.

“I had a goal to make it to state this year, and earning the spot was really special,” said Marsh. “I worked really hard over the offseason and improved a ton and had a lot of fun doing it, so it was really awesome to be able to finish on a high note like this as a senior.”

Full state results can be found at, while more state photos can be found on the NEW Media Inc. Sports Facebook page at