LA CROSSE — Colton Hetke has spent much of his junior season writing his name all over the Lake Holcombe/Cornell track team’s record book.
He can now add state medalist next to it.
Hetke took third place in the Division 3 high jump and fifth in the 300-meter hurdles to give the fifth-year co-op its first-ever podium finishes at the state track and field meet.
The junior concluded a whirlwind season that saw him win four conference championships and advance to state in four events with a pair of top-five finishes.
Hetke set a new personal and program record in the high jump, finishing at 6-feet-4. But that height almost didn’t come for Hetke, who was down to his final jump early in competition before completing some key jumps to stay alive and advance.
“I just tried to keep myself mentally focused,” Hetke said. “I missed 5-10 twice, I got scratches and I started getting down on myself early and then I just kept it together and knew I had it in me to get over it and I just performed.”
Coleman’s Josh Pillath won the state championship at 6-6 with Prentice’s Jesse Isaacson second at 6-5.
“The first year being down at state and to get a third place, I can’t be disappointed in that at all,” Hetke said. “I’m really happy with myself, that’s for sure.”
Later in the day Hetke improved on his eighth seed in the 300 hurdles by finishing in fifth (41.32), gaining over four-tenths of a second from his preliminary time. That mark is also a new personal best for the junior a year after he couldn’t break the top-9 in the 300 hurdles at sectionals.
“It’s awesome, I don’t even know how to put it,” Hetke said. “To go from nothing and podiuming twice, it’s amazing. It’s awesome.”
Hetke took 12th in the 110 hurdle preliminaries on Friday and teamed with Nate Parkhurst, Kyle Goltz and Luke Geist to take 15th in the 1,600 relay preliminaries.
As a sophomore Hetke didn’t advance to state. As a junior, he helped take the Lake Holcombe/Cornell program to new levels.
He’s already looking forward to what he can do as a senior.
“Big expectations for next year for sure,” Hetke said. “I’m definitely going to be putting in lots of work this offseason. With how close I am, I know there are great opportunities to get even higher places.”