LA CROSSE — Andy Hinzmann just wanted to be one of the smiling people.
His performance on Saturday was grin worthy as the Cadott senior finished in third place in the Division 3 300-meter hurdles on the final day of the WIAA State Track and Field Championships.
Hinzmann took third with a time of 39.82 seconds, trailing Loyal's Mason Malm (38.59) and Cambridge's Riley Olson (39.01) at the front to cap his career with his first podium finish.
"I felt pretty confident," Hinzmann said of his mindset entering the finals. "I got another big PR. I was still two-tenths of a second away from the school record. I didn't get that.
"That was my main goal, but I'm really happy about getting third."
Hinzmann put himself in a good position for Saturday after taking third during Friday's preliminaries, timing in at 40.02. He was also in action in the triple jump on Saturday, finishing 14th with a best leap of 39-feet as Wild Rose's Caleb Williams won the event with a jump of 45-1.5.
Hinzmann was making his second appearance at state after competing in three events as a junior. He finished 11th and 13th as a part of the boys 800 and 3,200 relays, respectively, while also taking eighth in the triple jump.
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"It was awesome. My first year I was super nervous coming down here," Hinzmann said. "We weren't seeded first or anything (for the relays) but this year coming down it was like a load off my shoulders coming down the second time more experienced."
Hinzmann's first experience with the state championships came as a freshman in 2016 when he came as a spectator to cheer on his Hornet teammates. What he saw was an intoxicating environment in which his teammates Elizabeth Kyes, Brandon Pederson and others battled for school records, podium finishes and state championships.
"It means a lot, coming into my freshman year I really wanted to come down to state, compete and be one of the best and coming out at my senior year I feel like I hit a lot of my goals," Hinzmann said.
It wasn't just the state champions and medal winners that caught his eye as a freshman.
"All the people competing had smiles, even if they didn't do very good," Hinzmann said. "I wanted to experience the environment first hand."
And now Hinzmann will be able to leave with a smile and a medal.