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Raising the Bar (Mary Wirth)

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Our Taco John's Athlete of the Week will compete in track and field at South Dakota State this year.  Mary Wirth had a great high school career.  Now she's ready for her next challenge.

Mary Wirth is talented.  She played all sorts of sports growing up, she spent years practicing tap, jazz and ballet dancing, and she posted a nearly flawless grade point average in high school.  But when she started her track and field career it had as much to do with her family as it did her ability.

"I did the little Hershey's track meets when I was younger because I wanted to be just like my brother," said Mary Wirth.

Mary's brother Zach was a sprinter and a hurdler, who was good enough to run track at SDSU.  When Mary started out, she realized she might be better suited to a different discipline.

"When I went to Lincoln I decided I would do jumps," said Wirth.  "And they just said if you want to try triple and long, we'll just put you in high as well.  So I went to high jump and I didn't like it very much the first year.  It was kinda painful sometimes."

Hitting the bar doesn't always feel the best.  But it didn't take long for Mary Wirth to start raising the bar instead.

"I thought I'd just stick with it and see where it took me," said Wirth.

Wirth excelled in her sport from her sophomore year on.  She claimed three consecutive state high jump championships and won numerous other events including the Dakota Relays.  Now, just like her brother, she's headed to SDSU to jump for the Jackrabbits.

"When you get a really good jump you know it right away," said Wirth.

Mary Wirth may not have known how good she was the first time she competed.  But now everyone can see how talented she is.

Jason Anschutz, KDLT Sports, Sioux Falls.
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