McDonell’s Charlie Bleskachek signed his letter of intent to compete in track and field and cross country at Concordia-St. Paul University on Monday morning.
The McDonell senior has been a standout in cross country, track and field and basketball during his high school career for the Macks and will head to St. Paul this fall to compete for the Golden Bears.
“It’s been a really long process but to be able to get to this point is a really big relief,” Bleskachek said of the decision. “At the same time, I’m really excited and looking forward to next year.”
Bleskachek will cap a strong athletic career with the Macks this spring, one that includes plenty of lofty accolades. He was a three-time all-conference competitor for the cross country team and a three-time Division 3 state qualifier as a part of the Macks team. In the spring Bleskachek has advanced to the Division 3 state championships in each of his first three years. That feat includes finishing on the podium as a part of the team’s 3,200-meter relay that finished sixth in 2016 and 2017 as well as taking fifth place individually in the 800 last spring.
In the winter Bleskachek was a part of four Division 5 state boys basketball appearances for the Macks, including the 2016 state championship and 2018 state runner-up squads. In all, Bleskachek has competed at state in 10 of his first 11 sports seasons and stands a strong chance of appearing in his 11th in a few weeks as one of the top mid-distance runners in the area.
“(He was an) instant impact person as a freshman, very unusual to have a freshman that can run distance as well as he can,” McDonell cross country and track and field coach Marty Bushland said. “He has such good range. We could put him the 100(-meter dash) and he would be super competitive but he was also all-conference in cross country every year he was able to run the conference meet.”
Bleskachek said he liked the atmosphere of Concordia-St. Paul and will continue running mid-distance with the Golden Bears track team.
“They seem really genuine,” Bleskachek said. “I met the coaching staff back in September and they really like what they do, seem really cool and very easy going. It’ll be easy for me to transition into a team like that.”
The second youngest of five siblings, Charlie joins his mother Sue (UW-Stevens Point) and father David (Saint John’s University) as Bleskachek’s to run at the collegiate level.
With his college athletic and academic future secure, Charlie can fully focus on ending his senior season at McDonell as strong as possible. Athletically that starts Tuesday with the Western Cloverbelt Conference track and field championships in Cadott, where Bleskachek will be among the top favorites in his mid-distance races. Bleskachek says focus and listening to what his coach has to say will be important as he aims for trip number four to La Crosse before transition to the Division II college level.
“(He’s) just a great kid,” Bushland said of Bleskachek. “Probably a better person than a runner which means the college he’s chosen has picked up a great athlete and I look forward to watching him at that level.”