As you enter Bagley High School, one of the first things you see is a large banner that reads, “State Girls Track & Field Athlete of the Year.” The banner, courtesy of Gatorade, designates Analisa Huschle as Minnesota’s top female track athlete for 2008-09.
The folks in Bagley better make sure there is enough room for a couple more banners, because Huschle’s fame continues to grow.
The 17-year-old junior won the long jump, triple jump and 200-meter dash at last year’s Class A state track meet for the Bagley/Fosston cooperative team. She set an all-time state record in the long jump, going 19 feet, 2 ¼ inches.
Huschle is the favorite to win those events again at this year’s state meet, which will be held June 11-12 at Hamline University in St. Paul. She captured her first state title in the triple jump when she was a ninth-grader, and if she can win three events again this spring and do the same in her senior year, she would become a 10-time state track champion.
Her coach says we have yet to see the best from his young star.
“She actually has a long ways to go yet,” Doug Carlson said. “She has a lot of natural ability but it’s something we’re constantly working on, the technique in the jump events and things. Basically the sky’s the limit.”
Huschle realized as much in February when she worked out in front of former Gophers jump star and Olympian Shani Marks, a former Apple Valley High School athlete.
“She watched my form and she told me what I was doing wrong,” Huschle said. “Basically, I was doing everything wrong.”
That’s says something about Huschle’s athletic talent: she was “basically doing everything wrong” and still set a state record in the long jump.
“Shani kind of gave her some pointers,” Carlson said. “It was probably a little bit of an awakening, too, because she can do much more.”
Analisa already does a lot, on the track and off. She is a member of her school’s dance team during the winter (Question: Does dancing help make you a better track athlete? Answer: “I think so. We’re always kicking, doing leaps and stuff”) and she dreams of becoming a recording artist; she sings country music and plays the guitar.
Huschle won the long jump, triple jump and 200 at the recent Hamline Elite Meet, competing against athletes from some of the largest schools in the state. Bagley’s high school enrollment is only 258 and Fosston has 170 students.
“That was awesome,” she said. “I didn’t think I was going to do that well. There are bigger schools there, everybody’s there.”
Bagley/Fosston won last year’s Class A state team title, with Huschle's three titles accounting for 36 of the team’s 47 points (she teamed with Maria Berg, Kyli Day and Lynsey Bardwell to finish second in the 4x200 relay). It was the first team championship in any sport for Bagley, and the accomplishment by Huschle and her teammates is even more remarkable considering the track facilities in Bagley.
The track is little more than a wide gravel path. If it had lanes, there might be four of five of them. The athletes don’t wear spikes when running on the track. “You could, but there’s no point,” Huschle said.
Analisa, who has four older brothers, lives on a farm near Bagley with her parents, Dan and Kim. The farm is also the home of beef cattle and two horses.
As Huschle’s profile continues to rise, Division I colleges are showing interest in her. If she feels any pressure, she doesn’t show it. She just smiles and says her goals for the rest of this season are simple.
“Basically, I just want to keep improving,” she said.
That should not be a problem. In other words, prepare for more banners,
--John Millea is on Twitter at twitter.com/mshsljohn
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