Senior nearly breaks all-time record in 800

Haleigh Reindl floors the competition at state track. (Photo courtesy Journal Sentinel)


By Dave Lubach

Sports Correspondent

LA CROSSE – The opportunity had never been better for Waterford senior Haleigh Reindl to finally win a gold medal at the WIAA State Track and Field Championships.

The gold medal podium for the girls 800 in Division 1 at Veterans Memorial Field Sports Complex at the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse was a second home until 2017 for Whitefish Bay standout Cami Davre, who won the event all four years of her storied prep career before moving on to the University of Michigan.

Reindl had a front-row seat to history for the last two of Davre’s state championships, qualifying for state in the 800 her sophomore year, when she took sixth, and again as a junior, when her time of 2 minutes, 13.06 seconds was good for runner-up behind Davre.

With the top qualifying time heading into Saturday’s 800 final and an already strong resume in the event here, Reindl was considered the favorite to take the next step up the podium to the top.

She didn’t disappoint. Reindl set the pace early and dominated the 800, cruising to victory by more than four seconds over Waukesha West’s Becca Langer. Reindl finished the race in 2:09.66, about four-tenths of a second off Davre’s record-setting pace in 2015.

“I wanted that so bad,” Reindl said after the race, with the gold medal draped around her neck.

Reindl said it with a huge smile on her face, an indication that detail was a minor one following her major accomplishment.

“This is phenomenal. I’m literally at a loss for words,” said Reindl. “I tried to win it last year, but (Davre) outkicked me at the end. She’s just a phenomenal athlete, but I was just trying to give it my all today.”

Reindl was comfortably in charge the entire race, but there was one moment she experienced internally that proved the litmus test to confirm that gold was in the cards Saturday.

“The third 200 meters,” she said. “My time usually drops a little bit, but I was thinking ‘just get through the third 200,’ then give it your all the last 100 meters and just finish.”

The gold provided the perfect capper to her state experience and her high school career. The medal was her second of the weekend, with the first coming in the 3200 relay on Friday.

Reindl ran the anchor leg for the school’s team that placed fifth with a time of 9:27.14. Joining Reindl on the relay were freshman Kelsey Radobicky, sophomore Jayda Obluck and junior Shaelyn Mullins. The medal represented a huge leap from the previous year, when Waterford took 24th with three returning runners.

“To have that big of an improvement with my girls is phenomenal,” Reindl said.

In addition to winning the gold medal, Reindl met her future college roommate over the weekend, as she will attend the University of Minnesota-Duluth to compete in cross country and track.

“I’m stronger in track and more of a middle-distance runner, but cross country helps me more mentally and with endurance,” she said.