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June 05, 2012 | 05:09 PMLA CROSSE — Big Foot senior Alyssa Lueck's dreams of a state shot put title came up just a bit short Friday at the WIAA state track and field meet at the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse.
But the record-breaking thrower still finished with the best state performance of her career in her last high school meet.
Lueck hurled a throw of 40-7 in the shot put to earn second place in Division 2. Whitewater senior Molly Griep, Lueck's long-time rival who will join her at Division 1 North Dakota next year, won the title with a throw of 42-7.75.
Overall, Lueck was happy to finish her Big Foot track career in style.
"It was bittersweet," she said. "It felt great to win second place, but I was sad that it was over. I really wanted to throw farther but I wasn't disappointed. It was the first time I have thrown over 40 feet at the state meet so I was happy. But I wanted to win."
Lueck tossed her second-place distance of 40-7 on her first of five throws. Big Foot track Greg Lueck, Alyssa's father, was proud of his daughter.
"Alyssa had a very successful state meet," he said. "It was nice to finish second and not throw your best. She wasn't as comfortable as usual with the college ring. It was a real slick surface. It hampered her a bit. There was some disappointment. She wanted to throw a bit better."
The discus was so slippery, in fact, during the Division 2 competition that the Division 3 competitors used a different ring.
Griep and Alyssa Lueck have been pretty even with each other this season. Greg Lueck said the girls have a lot of respect for each other, and they will be with each other at the next level.
Alyssa has enjoyed competing against Griep.
"The competition has been great between us the last few years, and it has definitely pushed me to work hard," Alyssa Lueck said. "It will be great to bring that competition with us to North Dakota next year while also being teammates and supporting each other."
Alyssa Lueck entered Division 2 state action as the top-seeded competitor with a sectional toss of 143-0.75, a Big Foot school record which bested her previous record by nearly 3 inches. She broke the school shot put record three times this season. Lueck also broke the school record in the discus this season. Lueck placed seventh at state in the shot put last year and sixth in 2010.
"In the end, it was the best she's done at state," Greg Lueck said. "This year, we wanted a throw of 43 feet and wanted the top three in state. Also, Alyssa's discus dramatically improved."
Alyssa Lueck will throw shot put at Division 1 North Dakota next season. But she will never forget her time at Big Foot, especially the special moments with dad.
"I will miss the people," Alyssa Lueck said. "I have gotten really close with all of my teammates and competitors over the last four years. I have made a lot of new friends and memories that I will never forget. I will also miss my dad. He has done so much for me over the last four years. He has been a great coach and father, and it's not going to be easy to be 10 hours away from him."
Walker, Cary make finals
Big Foot's two state competitors for the boys both enjoyed runs to the finals last weekend.
In the discus, junior Garret Cary took seventh with a personal-best heave of 152-3 in his first state appearance. He fired off his best throw in preliminaries.
"Garret just missed the medal stand," Greg Lueck said. "He was fifth going into finals. He was seeded 13th and jumped a bunch of spots. We were very pumped. Garret worked very hard the last three weeks and became consistent. He really got his technique down."
Senior Kenny Walker, who competed in the 110 high hurdles, gave a valiant effort to reach the finals despite a nagging hamstring injury.
Walker, who made state for the fourth straight season, took seventh in the prelims Friday, but his hamstring was sore after the race. During finals Saturday, Walker started strong, but his injury flared up, he slowed down and was forced to jog the final two hurdles. Walker finished 10th a year after taking fourth in the 300 hurdles.
"It was just too bad," Greg Lueck said. "Kenny could've used another week of recovery after prelims. But it tells a lot about him that he ran at that high of a level at only 80 percent. It was a lot to overcome."
Along with a hamstring injury, Walker suffered an appendicitis during the track season. Greg Lueck said it all took a toll on Walker.
Overall, it was the 18th straight year Big Foot has sent track athletes to state.
"Kenny and Alyssa have meant so much to the program," Greg Lueck said. "They finished their careers on a high note. They have really set a good example."