Chilton’s Kurscheidt taking nothing for granted

By | April 16, 2010

Distance runner Cody Kurscheidt knows what he wants from his senior track and field season. In addition to helping the Tigers win a sixth consecutive Olympian Conference championship, the Chilton High School standout has set individual goals.

“In the two-mile (3200 meters), I want to break 9:40 and place in the top six at state,” he said. “I want to get a state medal. In the mile (1600 meters), I would just be satisfied to qualify for state.”

Last year, Kurscheidt placed eighth at state in Division 2 in the 3200 meters. He was also a member of Chilton’s 4 x 800 meter relay team, which finished seventh at the state meet in La Crosse. During the 2010 indoor season, Kurscheidt captured gold in the 3200 meters in Division 2 at the Oshkosh High School Indoor Invitational. Last Saturday, he placed 15th out of a field of 69 in the 1600 meters at the state indoor meet in Whitewater.

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Cody Kurscheidt, a standout runner at Chilton High School, eyes a state medal in the 3200 meters this season. He finished eighth at state in 2009. (Rick Evans photo)

Kurscheidt has also excelled in cross country, qualifying for state three times. He won a sectional cross country championship last fall and placed 17th in Division 2 at the 2009 WIAA state meet. Hard work and dedication have paid off.

“I take a week off after each season and then I’m back running 40 miles per week,” he said. “You can definitely tell a difference after that week off. Then you get back into it and it just becomes part of your daily schedule.”

Kurscheidt’s passion for running began at an early age.

“I had excessive energy as my mom would say,” he said. “I live out in the country. She would say to me, ‘Run down to the stop sign and back.’ When we did the mile in middle school, I thought to myself, ‘Hey, I’m not bad at running,’ so I did cross country and track. I’m addicted to it. I definitely enjoy it.”

Kurscheidt, who lists snowboarding among his other pastimes, appreciates running more now than ever. A frightening incident last summer changed him, he said.

While on a July fishing trip with relatives in Northern Ontario, Canada, a tornado struck the cabin where they were staying.

“My uncle went out fishing, while I went out for a run,” said Kurscheidt. “When my uncle came back in, my brother (Kyle) and I helped him dock the boat. The wind picked up and I remember the waves hitting the dock pretty hard. We got back to the cabin and set his gear down. My uncle yelled out, ‘Hey you guys have to see this.’ Trees and stuff were flying everywhere. You could see it swirling.

“A gust of wind caught us,” he added. “The first instinct was to get to the bathroom. It’s funny, in elementary school, you are taught bathroom or basement. You never think it’s going to happen. We got to the bathroom and we’re picked up. We levitated for a second or two. It was the weirdest feeling. Everything got ripped apart.”

Kurscheidt estimates that he landed 30 yards from his original location. He escaped with a bruised and swollen leg from hitting a railroad tie. Kyle’s injuries required stitches near his eye and on the back of his neck.

“(The tornado) is what really connected me with my faith more,” said Kurscheidt. “When we got back from the hospital, we found a Bible. That was the one thing that was left and we never saw it in the cabin before then. I’m not sure where it came from.”

Kurscheidt is active in the youth group, Jesus and Company, at Good Shepherd Parish in Chilton. He said that he enjoys group meetings and working at the breakfasts and dinners the teens offer. Participating in the group has also brought him luck on the track, he said.

“When I have a big race, when I know I’m going to be racing someone tough, I have my Jesus and Company shirt on,” he said. “That’s my lucky shirt. It has to work or I wouldn’t keep doing it.”

Next year, Kurscheidt will run at UW-Parkside in Kenosha, where he plans to study pre-medicine. He said that it’s hard to believe this is his final high school track season. Kurscheidt has embraced a leadership role for the Tigers.

“You know that you have the underclassmen looking up to you,” he said. “You try to show them the right way to go and, hopefully, they can follow in your footsteps.”

He found his own role model in Rocky Gozdziewski, who coaches the Chilton distance runners.

“I think I will always be a runner,” said Kurscheidt. “I look at Mr. G and he is still out running. I want to be like him and just keep running.”

Reflecting on his high school career, Kurscheidt is proud of the team success. Last fall’s cross country conference championship stands out, he said.

“We have won conference the past 10 years, but this year, Valders and Brillion had really strong teams,” he said. “Valders should have definitely beaten us and Brillion should have been right there. Me and all the guys just came out and ran excellent races and we won conference by quite a bit. This one, we had to battle for it.”

The day of the tornado still enters Kurscheidt’s mind, especially when the weather is stormy. The experience fuels him to live each day to the fullest, he said.

“Every day I’m glad to be alive,” he said. “A lot of things I took for granted before, I’m more thankful for now.”

 

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