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MLCA/CCS’s Wiser takes the podium at state track

by IAN BIVONA
Sports Reporter | June 12, 2024 3:00 AM

MOSES LAKE — While MLCA/CCS’s Rebecca Wiser hasn’t reached high school yet, the Lion eighth grader has already started to leave her mark on the track. 

Wiser took fourth in the 3,200-meter run at last month’s 1B State Track and Field Championships in Yakima, completing the event with a personal-best time of 12:32.06 minutes.

“The two-mile, even though the mile is my favorite race, the entire time running that I just have fun,” Wiser said. “It gives you a lot of time to think. When I did cross that finish line, it was a really good, ‘I did it’ type of feeling. Reaching my PR, it was just a really cool experience.”

Being her first time at the state championship meet, Wiser said there were plenty of nerves before running her first event, the 1,600-meter run.

“I was really stressed out about it because it was a completely new experience,” Wiser said. “Before my mile, which was my first event of the state meet, I almost cried about it – but once I start running, the adrenaline kicks in, and then it’s just fun.”

A personal best time of 5:44.4 minutes saw Wiser take ninth, narrowly missing the podium in the event. 

“I PR’d, and it was also the event that I was the most stressed about, because It’s actually my favorite event,” Wiser said. “Once I got that out of the way and I just missed the podium, that made me feel way better about the rest of the (meet).”

Wiser credited her fourth-place finish in the 3,200m to family, friends and coaches cheering her on from the stands.

“I had a whole lot of family and friends, and my coach was cheering for me,” Wiser said. “Especially during the long distance, when you’re getting in your head and your body’s telling you to stop, having them cheer you on really pushes you through it.”

“It’s really impressive,” MLCA/CCS track and field Head Coach Brendan Thompson said of Wiser’s fourth-place finish. “She works hard, she never shies away from a workout. She’s really committed and focused, she’s a really strong athlete all around.”

After playing volleyball and girls basketball for the Lions during the fall and winter sports seasons, Wiser said she was motivated by one of her basketball teammates, sophomore Brynlynn King, to sign up for track in the spring.

“She actually encouraged me to do it, and then I loved it the second day of practice,” Wiser said. 

King, also a distance runner, qualified for the state meet along with Wiser, taking ninth in the 3,200m with a time of 13:07 minutes. Thompson said the duo have been pushing each other throughout the season.

“They totally support each other,” Thompson said. “In distance running, when we go out for a run, we’re going in these dusty canyons with sagebrush – these two, they stick together, push each other and support each other. They’ve been really good at that.”

Joining Wiser and King at last month’s state meet were Lion sophomore James Robertson, who ran the boys 800-meter run and the boys 3,200-meter run; freshman Ben Bishop, who ran the boys 1,600-meter run and the boys 3,200m; freshman Amelia Shopbell, who ran the girls 100-meter dash; and sophomore Emma Stevenson, who joined Shopbell, Wiser and King on the 4x100-meter relay team.

“We’re a small team, it’s a 1B school, but it’s a team that works hard, gets together and trains really hard,” Thompson said. “The team knew they could get to state, and the question was could we get someone on the podium.”

Ahead of her freshman year, Wiser said she’s looking to build off of her 2024 performances.

“I’m planning on training a lot over the summer and during the school year before track season,” Wiser said. “(Next) year I hope to go in with better times than what I started with this year, and I also think that feeling comfortable at the beginning since I’ve already been through the whole process will really help with the amount of stress and things like that during my runs.”

Thompson said the strong start bodes well for her remaining high school career.

“She’s so far ahead of where a typical eighth grader is, so her thoughts over the next couple years is to get to be a champion and get that No. 1 spot,” Thompson said. “It’s an incredible start for an eighth grader.”

Ian Bivona may be reached at ibivona@columbiabasinherald.com.

    MLCA/CCS eighth-grader Rebecca Wiser, right, runs at the 1B State Track and Field Championships in Yakima. Wiser ran in three events at the meet; the 1,600-meter run, the 3,200-meter run and the second leg of the 4x100-meter relay.
 
 
    MLCA/CCS eighth-grader Rebecca Wiser, right, and sophomore Brynlynn King, left, run at the Vanderholm Memorial Invitational at Royal High School on May 3. Wiser said that King was the reason she signed up to run track this spring.