A fine career for West Allis Central's Ella Schultz in the shot put ended in style with second place at last week's WIAA Division 1 State Track and Field Meet at La Crosse.
Schultz posted 45 feet-73/4 inches on June 4 to finish behind only Erin Dunning of Ashwaubenon, who threw 46-21/2 to claim the championship in the annual event at the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse.
'I felt really prepared for today,' the senior said. 'I had a good series in the preliminaries, and I think I had a better one in the finals, one that could have won it, but I lost my balance (and fouled). It happens sometimes.'
Despite the near-miss for the title, Schultz came away pleased with her efforts.
'This feels good,' she said. 'I'm super proud of this. I worked hard to get this far.'
Schultz picked up the shot put several years ago and improved steadily over her final three high-school seasons, qualifying for the state meet each year.
She won just about every competition this spring and claimed Greater Metro Conference championships as well as WIAA regional and sectional titles.
Schultz also took second in the indoor state meet earlier this season with 44-5, and over her career, she broke both the indoor and outdoor school records at Central.
'I just started doing this (shot put) my sophomore year, and I think confidence is the big reason I improved so much this year,' she said. 'I looked at videos and practiced very hard in the off-season. I even gave up swimming so I could concentrate on track.'
Schultz will attend Bucknell University in Pennsylvania this fall, so she will compete on the NCAA Division 1 level. She plans to major in chemistry with the goal of becoming a food scientist.
Her eight points for second place gave Central 29th place in the state meet, which was won by Milwaukee King with 44 points.
The Bulldogs enjoyed some success on the boys side as well, with junior Kelshawn Johnson placing seventh in the 110-meter hurdles with 14.99 seconds on June 4. Johnson ran fourth with 14.86 seconds in the preliminaries on June 3.
He also came in 18th with 41.37 seconds in the 300-meter hurdles preliminaries on June 3, not qualifying for the final race.
Johnson, too, enjoyed a strong overall season, consistently finishing near the top in the hurdles races.
His two points put Central in a tie for 55th place in the state meet, in which Brookfield East finished first with 49 points.