LA CROSSE – Morgan Malm and Alexandra Hutchison had a sizable amount of pressure on their shoulders (actually legs would be more appropriate) coming into the WIAA State Track and Field meet.
Both won state titles a year ago, Malm, a senior from Loyal in the 110 high hurdles and Hutchison, a junior at Columbus Catholic, the 200 dash.
They not only defended their respective Division 3 championships, but added another to be double winners Saturday at Veterans Stadium.
In the morning, Malm became a two-time state champion in the 110s with a time of 15.43 seconds, avenging a sectional loss to Marathon’s Matt Matel.
“All the pressure was off after winning the 110s, I was was ready to run the 300s right away,” Malm said.
Much later in the day he got his chance added the 300s to his medal collecting with a winning time of 39.78. He was the only athlete in the field to have a sub-40 300. His margin of victory wasn’t a full second on the time clock, but he was well ahead of the rest of the field.
It didn’t come easy for Malm, who suffered an MCL injury to his right light, his lead leg, forcing him to relearn part of his craft.
“The biggest thing was transitioning out of the blocks and I struggled with that most of the season,” Malm said. “This week I was the first that I really worked on them. I figured if I came out of the blocks well and my form was on that I’d be OK.
“I was working all year to get to this point. All I really wanted was the two golds in my main events. I had to work hard to accomplish this and it paid off.”
His past two track seasons have brought him four medals, three gold and one silver
Malm will continue his track career at the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh, running for coach Eamon McKenna.
Hutchison, only a junior, had an equally dominant weekend.
In the morning, she cruised to the 100-meter championship in 12.82 and then tacked on another win in the 200 in 25.71.
She was fourth in the 100 at last year’s meet and felt fortunate to realize one of her goals Friday afternoon, by breaking the Division 3 state record in the 200.
“Today was hard with the wind, but I was glad that I ran really good times and won today,” said Hutchison, who posted a 24.91 in her heat to break the record. “It feels great. I worked really hard for it and I was glad to win both events today.
“It was a relief to break the record last night so I could just race today.”
With four medals in two years of state track competition and one more year to add more, Hutchison has set herself up for quite a senior year.
She already has part of it planned out.
“I’m going to go to a couple track camps and go to some outdoor meets this summer and indoor meets in the winter, hit a few indoor meets,” Hutchison said. “I think my junior year went great and I can’t wait to see what I do my senior year.”
Mark Massoglia can be reached at 715-423-7200, ext. 6736 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @markmazzy.