June 21, 2018 at 5:34 p.m.

Waletzko Hurdles Into The Record Book

Waletzko Hurdles Into The Record Book
Waletzko Hurdles Into The Record Book

By Liz [email protected] | Comments: 0 | Leave a comment

When Sophia Waletzko’s coaches asked to meet her on a June afternoon the week after she competed at the state track meet, she was not sure what they had up their sleeves. As it turned out, they had big news for Waletzko, who made her state debut as an Albany High School sophomore in the 300-meter hurdles June 8-9 at Hamline University in St. Paul.  

Waletzko ran the event in 46.81 seconds in the preliminaries, which qualified her for finals the next day and a 46.93 in the finals, earning her an eighth-place medal. 

As coach Kathy Conrad entered the state scores into the school’s record system days later, the thought occurred to her that Waletzko’s preliminary time may have been inching on a past school record. 

Conrad located the last 300 hurdle record set by Jennie Noreen in 2007. The time: 46.81. 

As her coach told her the real meaning behind the meeting last Tuesday afternoon, Waletzko’s shock was clear. 

“Wow,” she said. “I had no idea and really had not thought about records at all.”

And while Noreen graduated in 2008, Waletzko knows about her fellow hurdler.  

“I have heard about Jennie Noreen, and I know she was a really good athlete,” Waletzko said. “It’s really cool that I tied that record.” 

Conrad was thrilled to see the tie, noting Waletzko’s hard work and dedication led her down this path. 

“She takes competition as a challenge, not a fear,” Conrad said of Waletzko.

The coach said Waletzko set herself a goal to make it to sections this year, spending the winter in the weight room to build strength. As sections drew near, the goal became extended to state. 

“Sophia is very positive, she takes setbacks in stride, is very goal-oriented and has fun,” Conrad said. “She did not let fear get in the way of performance in her first state appearance. She embraced the challenge, and we are so proud.”

Of her competition style, Waletzko said staying attentive to her own performance is key. 

“I tunnel in a lot [during races] and while I can see the other girls around me, I focus on my race, not on beating everybody else,” she said. “If you try beating everybody else, you’re going to knock hurdles and you won’t do as well. It’s a mentally challenging race. One hurdle at a time.” 


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