Photo courtesy of Laurie Mathes.
By Ed Byrne
The Brillion News
LA CROSSE – Wrightstown High School made it five in a row at the WIAA Division 2 state track and field championships – thanks to Brielle Buechler.
The sophomore took the D2 state girls’ pole vault championship, clearing 11-feet and three inches, succeeding four-time state champion Bonnie Draxler as the gold medal winner.
Draxler, now at San Diego State University on a track scholarship, was in La Crosse to watch Buechler vault. She was especially impressed with Buechler and with Reedsville’s triple-crown winner Faith Lubner.
“Afterwords, [Draxler] came and congratulated me – which was really cool,” Buechler said.
Before the state championship games, Buechler checked out the other girls’ performances in the other sectionals, and realized hers was the top.
“I knew [a state championship] was a possibility, but I knew I had to go out and do my best and then I could possibly come home with a championship,” Buechler said.
The weather was perfect for vaulters.
“It was perfect vaulting weather,” she said. “There was a tiny bit of a tailwind that helped, too.”
Although it was warm, the breeze and shade helped.
Warm-ups went well. Buechler started vaulting at 9-foot-6. Then she cleared 10 feet, 10-6, 10-9, 11 feet and finally 11-3.
Another sophomore, Linse Wilbur of Westby, took second at 11 feet even.
Buechler used a pole she rented from Get Vertical, a Milwaukee pole vaulting club coached by Jason Shimko – who also worked with Draxler.
“I picked up the new pole the night before and tried it out once in warm-ups and really liked it – so that’s the one I ended up using,” Buechler said.
Like Draxler and several other track stars from the Olympian Conference schools, Buechler trained with ex-Packer Bill Schroeder at the House of Speed in Ashwaubenon.
In the off-season, Buechler vaults at AP Vaulting Club of Green Bay in the winter, and plays volleyball and basketball at WHS, but her focus is on track and field, and the pole vault in particular.
It all paid off when she stood alone on the top platform, reserved for state champions.
“It felt awesome,” she said.
Brielle is the younger sister of Brett Buechler, who took the WIAA Division 2 state wrestling championship at 112 pounds in 2011, his junior year.