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Friday, June 6, 2008

East Troy's Buchholz goes out in style

By Eric Steurer/Contributor

When she was in middle school, Becca Buchholtz would practice gymnastics while her friends were playing outside.

She trained three hours a day, four days a week, but all this training for gymnastics gave Buchholtz a head start for a high school track and field career that culminated with her fifth WIAA Division 2 track and field state title last weekend at the state meet in La Crosse.

Buchholtz won her third straight title in the high jump and a second straight in the triple jump.

Buchholtz, who has just completed her senior year at East Troy High School, had friends who ran track and field in middle school. They would tell her how much fun they had and how they could jump 10 feet.

"I thought, I can jump 10 feet," Buchholtz said. She went home after school one day and measured out 10 feet in her back yard.

Melissa Mason, one of Buchholtz's friends, persuaded Buchholtz to convince her mom to let her go out for track and field. Buchholtz began track and field in middle school and soon was the best long jumper on the team.

Her mom, Dawn, who Buchholtz said has had the most influence on her, knew Becca needed to do track. Support from her mom, who attended practices and meets, helped Buchholtz excel in high school.

Buchholtz broke the school record in high jump as a freshman and currently holds the state record at 5 feet, 9 inches. She also holds the school record in the long jump, triple jump and the 4x100 meter relay. She finished second in the long jump at state her junior year and sixth in her senior year.

Her junior year, Buchholtz was without a jumping coach and tried to recruit Linda Dodge, a physical education teacher at East Troy High School. "It was hard to call her Mrs. Dodge because I have known her for so long," Buchholtz said of the long-time family friend. Buchholtz successfully recruited Dodge by hinting to her, on many occasions, that the coaching position was open.

Dodge has been at East Troy for three years now and coached track for two. "Becca is one of those elite types of athletes," Dodge said. "She's got all the physical tools that all the kids have, but no one outthinks her."

Training helped Buchholtz excel. It also kept her healthy enough to never miss a meet. Buchholtz bruised a vertebra from working out with a medicine ball, but she was able to compete through the injury and reduce her training while she let it heal. Shin splints and a strained tendon in her right ankle were her most common injuries, but Buchholtz said she taped her right ankle every meet to ease the strain.

Training during the track season consisted of a two-hour practice every day. During the off-season, Buchholtz spent two or three days a week in the weight room. She also attended three camps during the off-seasons, one in Whitewater, another at the University of Minnesota and a third one at Kansas State.

The camp at Kansas State allowed Buchholtz to work with college athletes where she learned drills and warm-ups that she did not learn anywhere else. "Kansas State was the best camp by far," Buchholtz said. It helped her broaden her horizons and incorporate new techniques into her training.

Buchholtz will attend Michigan State University on a one-third academic and two-thirds athletic scholarship. Her current plan is to major in math and get her master's degree. She wants to start her career as a teacher, but her real goal lies in a leadership position, such as principal. Buchholtz said she loves working with kids and people and believes she is a natural leader.

During the summer Buchholtz is working as a coach for cheerleading and gymnastics. She plans on swimming a lot and working out, but also just having fun.

Buchholtz also played volleyball for two years in high school, helping the team finish second in the conference her senior year and did cheerleading for three years.

Becca graduates with her class of 164 students at East Troy High School Sunday, ranked third with a 3.96 grade point average.



Anonymous Anonymous said...

Congratulations to Becca for being a dedicated and outstanding athlete and student. That is a well deserved scholarship and MSU is a great school. Best of luck to you! The article was well written and showed what a well rounded and talented person Becca is!

June 6, 2008 7:06 PM  

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