By Joe Bachman
“I’m ready” — proclaimed Nekoosa senior Kassi Spees, still catching her breath from a practice sprint in preparation for the 100m hurdles at State this weekend in La Crosse.
Spees will be joined by fellow track team member and best friend, Nekoosa senior Kaylee Jensen, who will be competing in the discus for her school. It is a friendship going back to 5th grade, but not without positive results.
“We really push each other,” said Spees, who will be competing at her fourth state final. “We both want to be better, and it helps that we both have that.”
Not only does Jensen have her best friend at her side in what will be her third appearance at state, but she brings confidence to this competition over nerves.
“I feel pretty confident,” said Jensen. “I know what to do, and I know what everyone else is throwing this year and what they’ve thrown at sectionals — so I just have to do better than that.”
Jensen placed fifth last year, and she intends to improve on that through increased training, including a new coach to help with nutrition and diet for better performance. However, Jensen isn’t just preparing for state, or academic finals, she’s also preparing to give a speech on Sunday at graduation, as Jensen will graduate at the very top of her class. So how is this senior preparing for a very full weekend?
Jensen prefers to simply work hard all year.
“I didn’t have a lot of pressure for finals — I just worked hard all year so I don’t have all the pressure waiting on that one test.”
Both Jensen and Spees will graduate this year with perfect 4.0 grades, however, the besties ultimately share not only a competitive nature in common, but that of confidence, as both women are expecting success this weekend.
“I’m excited — a little nervous, but excited,” said Spees. “I have a good amount of confidence.”
The 2016 State Track & Field Championships will be held Friday and Saturday, Jun. 3-4 at Veterans Memorial Stadium in La Crosse.