Alex Lutz –
Four members from the University of Wisconsin-Stout men’s and women’s track and field teams were selected to the All-Midwest team by the U.S. Track & Field and Cross-Country Coaches Association on March 4. They also competed in Nationals in Boston, Massachusetts. One of these four individuals is sprinter Kaitlin Mallek, a senior from Plover, Wisconsin. Mallek is no stranger to the national stage or even the award itself. Though she admitted that the start of the indoor season wasn’t her best, getting this honor as well as being able to compete at Nationals left her feeling relieved.
“It felt pretty relieving to get a qualifying time to make it since at the beginning of the indoor season, I wasn’t performing to the best of my abilities,” said Mallek.
Though Mallek will still have the entire outdoor portion of the season left after finishing her event at Nationals, she is now done with her indoor career.
“With this being my last indoor meet, it was a little bittersweet. I will for sure miss it, but I still have outdoor to look forward to. Outdoor starts during spring break when some of us will be heading down to Georgia because who knows when this snow will melt! This was my last year to qualify for indoor, so I was pretty excited about it. Every time I qualify for Nationals, I’m always thankful for the opportunity and experiences,” said Mallek.
Mallek is joined by Stephanie Pladies, a junior high jumper from Big Bend, Wisconsin. This year was her first time making it on the All-Midwest team and before this, she had no idea that it even existed. “Yeah, I didn’t even know that it was a thing, honestly,” said Pladies.
Joining these two women on the All-Midwest team and in Boston are Kevin Ruechel and Noah Zastrow. Ruechel is a sophomore from Pulaski, Wisconsin who competes as a thrower and Zastrow is a sophomore from Spencer, Wisconsin who competes in pole vault and long jump.
All four athletes will have a chance to make it to Nationals again for the outdoor competitions which will be held at the end of May.