The only throws Jessica Maroszek planned to make upon entering high school were going to be with a softball.
Maroszek is thankful that Seymour track and field coach Scott Schwantes convinced her to try some with a shot put and discus as well.
“I never thought I would get to the level that I ended up getting to,” said Maroszek, whose decorated track and field career has earned her a spot in the WIAA state record books, All-American accolades, an NCAA Division I national championship and two U.S. Olympic trials appearances.
Maroszek will take her rightful place in the Wisconsin Track Coaches Association Hall of Fame on Saturday at Middleton during the organization’s annual banquet.
The 2010 Seymour graduate is one of eight individuals being inducted this year. She’ll be joined by Wes Babcock (Pardeeville coach), Rick Bellford (West Allis Hale), Dezerea Bryant (Milwaukee Bradley Tech), Antonio Freeman (Wauwatosa West), Chris Rombough (New London), Lynn Sonnentag (Arcadia coach) and Jamie Vandenberg (Niagara).
Wausau West’s Brooke Jaworski and Coleman’s Josh Pillath will be recognized as WTCA athletes of the year.
“(Track and field) was always about going as far as I wanted to take myself,” Maroszek said
The Seymour native went a lot of places in her career.
From competing in the U.S. Olympic trials at Hayward Field in Eugene, Ore., to visiting the White House in Washington, D.C., after helping the University of Kansas win the 2013 NCAA national championship, Maroszek’s throws have taken her a long way.
“It was just a huge honor to be able to meet the president,” Maroszek said. “I shook (Barack) Obama’s hand. He went around and asked each of us where we were from. When I said I was out by Green Bay, Wisconsin, he was like, ‘Oh, your Packers got me,’ because he’s a Bears fan. So, that was cool.”
Maroszek was a four-time WIAA state qualifier in the discus and shot put, combining to win five Division 1 state titles in the two events.
The highlight of her prep career was breaking the WIAA state record with a shot put throw of 49 feet, 4¼ inches as a senior.
However, she went on to become a standout at the college and national level due to her throws in the discus, becoming a three-time All-American in the event and breaking the Big 12 Conference meet record with a toss of 197-5.
After placing eighth at the U.S. Olympic trials last year, Maroszek is still competing in the discus and hoping to continue to improve on her personal-best throw of 200-10.
“I just have a drive that I want to be the best at something,” she said. “Discus has been that one thing I’ve been able to hang around the top of in the United States for the last few years. It’s one of those things where because it’s an individual event I can take myself as far as I want to go.”
Maroszek’s passion for the discus was anything but love at first sight, though.
“I absolutely hated it,” she said about trying to throw it her freshman year of high school. “I couldn’t spin it and was absolutely horrible at throwing it. Then, I slowly got the hang of it.”
In addition to Schwantes, Maroszek credits Seymour throws coach Matt Molle and Kansas throws coach Andy Kokhanovsky for her success in the sport.
“It’s perfecting the little things to ultimately get to where you want to be,” Maroszek said about her passion for track and field.
“It’s individual, so you don’t depend on anybody else. It’s you and what you do every day for training. Obviously, there is always going to be that one person out there who is doing something different or better than you. That always kind of drove me. Can I give 120 percent every day or can I give that little extra? Can I do extra reps in a certain drill? Any little edge I could get I would do because when you get good competition anything is possible.”
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