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Kisting headed to UW-Milwaukee

Senior to compete in cross country, track

By Holly Neumann

Small-school athletes rarely have the opportunity to compete at the Division I level in college.

Erika Kisting isn’t a typical small-school athlete, however.

The Iola-Scandinavia High School senior is heading to the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, where she will continue her running career on the Panthers’ Division 1 cross country and track programs.

“It was toss-up between St. Cloud (State in Minnesota) and Milwaukee and Milwaukee won,” Kisting said. “It was a better fit for me and it appealed to where I want to go after high school.”

I-S track coach Bruce Beyersdorf describes Kisting as very determined.

“She deserves this,” he said. “She has goals and she knows how to reach those goals. She is a good leader and we are extremely lucky to have had her as an athlete here in Iola-Scandinavia.”

Kisting has been to the WIAA State Track & Field Championships as a freshman, sophomore and junior. After placing second in the girls’ Division 3 3,200-meter run as a freshman in 2015, she returned the following year and returned home with Division 3 state championships in the 1,600- and 3,200-meter runs. She returned to state last year and placed sixth in the 1,600 and eighth in the 3,200. Her experience at state also includes placing seventh and eighth in the 3,200-meter relay and 10th in the 1,600-meter relay.

Kisting also turned in three top-10 finishes at the WIAA State Cross Country Championships, placing fourth in Division 3 as a senior, seventh as a junior, third as a sophomore and 20th as a freshman.

Competing in a Division I college program is a goal, according to Kisting.

“It has been my goal academically and athletically,” she said. “I really work hard toward my grades, but as a runner, I wanted to get a scholarship there as well.”

She is scheduled to sign her National Letter of Intent April 11 in Iola.

“I have already spent time on the campus and have seen a college track meet,” Kisting said. “Seeing all the runners there made me excited to see what I can do at the next level compared to what I have in high school.”

There are some fears as well, she said.

“I am going to miss what I have had here in Iola,” she said. “Milwaukee is a lot bigger, but I will get used to it.”

Kisting credits several people for her accomplishments.

“There are so many people that have affected me,” she said. “My parents, my friends, my coaches. Everyone has had a big impact on my running. They have all reminded me that I can do anything that I put my mind to.”

One lesson Kisting will take from Iola-Scandinavia is to be herself.

“Being proud of who I am and having that determination to be the best that I can be is the only thing that I can ask for in life,” she said. “You can take that with you anywhere you go. Don’t let anyone tell you cannot do something. If you really want it, you can do anything.”

Her goals moving forward include working harder and getting better.

“I will focus on improving myself academically and athletically,” she said.

Kisting, the daughter of Craig and Sarah Kisting, plans on majoring in architecture with a possible minor in graphic design.

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