By Emma Jo Hirschy, Aviator editor in chief
Three De Pere High School seniors — Sydney Otto, Shae Opichka, and Kylie Swiekatowski — signed national letters of intent for college on May 4. Each girl received a Division I scholarship for their skills in track and field.
According to Mr. Boyd, the DPHS track coach, said that the program was very proud of the accomplishments of the three seniors.
“It is very rare to have just one athlete from any program sign a Division 1 scholarship, but to have three in one year is truly very special,” Boyd said.
Otto plans to attend the University of Nebraska.
“Sydney is a tremendous multi-sport athlete and we are excited about her future at the University of Nebraska,” said Scott Cappos, a Nebraska coach.
During Otto’s junior year, she placed third in a triple jump and seventh at the WIAA Division 1 state meet. Also, at 18 feet and 9.5 inches, Otto hold the school’s record for long jump. For triple jump she holds the record at 39-1.5 and 37-10.5 for shot put. She placed first at the USATF National Junior Olympic track and Field Championships for the javelin throw last summer.
“When I received those letters from the college, it made me feel pretty special,” Otto said. “It also encourages me to keep getting better during the off seasons.”
Swiekatowski placed third in 2013, first in 2014, and second in 2015 for pole vault at state. She is also a three-time defending champion for the Fox River Classic Conference. At 13 feet, Swiekatowski holds the school record for pole vault.
“We have a proud tradition of excellence in the pole vault and Kylie will help us fill the void after graduating two great seniors that have won conference titles,” said Jim Bevan, a track and field coach at Rice.
“It’s a big relief to finally have put my name on the paper because I put in so much work for this,” said Kylie.
Opichka will be attending Illinois State.
“It was so hectic and I was so overwhelmed when I received the offer. There were all these offers and I was like, ‘which one do I go to?’” said Opichka. “I was deciding between a couple, but once I was there and visited, it felt like home.”
“Shae was my top recruit from the very beginning and later on I was able to surround her with the right pieces to this team,” said Wood, a Track and Field coach at Illinois State.
Boyd also emphasized that the the girls were one of the big reasons the DPHS track team finished 6th place at state last year.
“Their contributions to the program are well documented but it is their commitment and leadership to track and field that has been second to none,” he said. “Illinois State, Rice and Nebraska are getting outstanding track athletes and I know they will represent De Pere well.”