Disciplined Karpinski wins conference athlete of the year

By Chris Bennett

Emma Karpinski

Of everything Emma Karpinski learned through her four years at Waterford Union High School, it sounds weirdest to say she learned how to run.

That knowledge served her well on the Wolverines’ girls track team and led to some impressive awards following her senior season.

Karpinski, who earned the Southern Lakes Conference Female Track and Field Athlete of the Year, was also voted the best female athlete at Waterford for 2018-19.

The conference honor came as a surprise for Karpinski.

“It kind of came as a shock to me,” Karpinski said. “I didn’t know it was happening until my coach told me at my banquet.”

“I didn’t think I was the top athlete in our conference for track, but I thought I was pretty good.”

As for the school honor, she assumed the selection process was difficult, considering there were other qualified athletes at Waterford.

“I think it would be really hard to decide between all the great athletes,” Karpinski said. “There are a lot of good, girl athletes going big places with their own sports.

“For me, it was a shock.”

She learned about both awards when the track and field teams gathered for their postseason banquet June 12 at Waterford’s Cotton Exchange.

Waterford girls track coach Michele Sittig, meanwhile, said Karpinski arrived at Waterford with speed, but needed to learn how to run.

“She was a student of spring technique,” Sittig said. “She came in fast, but there’s a difference between being a fast kid and being a fast kid who maximizes their efficiency. She really learned to do that.”

Sittig said one of the biggest differences in Karpinski’s technique came when she opened her stride. Karpinski’s times dropped dramatically, Sittig said.

Karpinski also put in significant time in the weight room in an effort to maximize her ability.

“She physically was just really disciplined in the weight room and in workouts,” Sittig said. “She’s the kind of kid who learned her body and learned how to become a more efficient runner.”

The discipline led to a banner season for Karpinski.

She qualified for state in the 200-meter dash – her favorite event – and as part of the Wolverines’ 1,600 relay team.

While she finished 16th in the 200 (26.08) at the state meet in La Crosse, her 1,600 relay team consisting of juniors Olivia Busch, Julia Schroeder and Jayda Obluck placed 21st (4:08.41).

At the May 14 conference meet hosted by Union Grove High School, Karpinski won two events and finished second in another.

Karpinski won the 100 (13.05) and 200 (26.52) and ran with freshman Rachel Roth, junior Katie Rohner and senior Miranda Meyers on Waterford’s second-place 400 relay team (51.77).

Karpinski plans to attend Ripon College in the fall, where she will major in elementary education, and run track as a recruited athlete.

Sittig said Karpinski did not miss a varsity meet in her four years on the track and field team, and finished every season among the team’s top five in points scored.

As impressive as Karpinski’s achievements were on the track, Sittig lauded the recent graduate for taking charge.

“I think my favorite memory of her is probably the leadership she showed when we did workouts in practice,” Sittig said. “She’s a no-nonsense, no excuses type of leader. She leads by example for her teammates.

“She’s not afraid to tell people what they need to hear and not what they want to hear.”