Nicolet National Bank Senior Spotlight: Molly Desotell – Notre Dame Academy cross country, track
By Rich Palzewic
GREEN BAY – Molly Desotell, a senior cross country runner at Notre Dame Academy, is looking to cap off her prep career this weekend at the WIAA Division 1 state meet at Arrowhead High School in Hartland with a podium finish.
Molly, the daughter of Kim and Tim Desotell, has qualified for the state meet each of her four years running varsity at Notre Dame.
She placed 12th in 2017, 14th as a sophomore and third last season in Division 2.
“I’m very excited,” said Desotell. “It’s never been at Arrowhead before, and I hear it’s a fast course. I’m hoping to get a PR (personal record) and make the podium. I did last year, but this year, we’re in Division 1. It’ll be tougher competition, but I’m feeling awesome and healthy.”
The state meet is typically held in Wisconsin Rapids, but because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the WIAA switched the format this season.
This year, many schools across the state switched their fall sports to the spring because of the pandemic, but the Tritons managed to make it through the season.
“From mid-August until before school began, we weren’t sure we’d have a season,” Desotell said. “It was hard mentally to keep training with the unknown. Our coach, John Gard, worked hard because the Fox River Classic Conference moved their fall sports to the spring. We took it week by week and ran every meet like it could be our last. I’m grateful we had a season but feel bad for all those who didn’t.”
Desotell said Gard is a great coach.
“He’s been working with me since the eighth grade,” she said. “He’s the most dedicated and passionate person I’ve ever met with running. He’s always supported us, is motivating and helped me the last two years take a step up as a runner.”
Gard also has high praise for his senior runner.
“Molly has improved her time in big meets every year,” said Gard. “That’s rare for high school girls. In four years, she has never run a bad race. She’s probably the most reliable runner I’ve had in 12 years of coaching. She has always embraced every challenge and prefers the harder races and better competition. Frequently, I’ve asked her to run in a way that serves the team more than her individually. She’s quiet, unselfish and an exceptional teammate and leader – one of the nicest people you could ever meet. Her collegiate future is bright because I’ve coached her conservatively and expect big jumps as a college runner.”
Desotell has two older siblings – a sister and a brother.
“Both of my siblings went to Notre Dame,” she said. “My sister Katie graduated from college two years ago and is living in Chicago. My brother Barrett is a junior in college and also living in Chicago. Katie ran cross country and did track, but she was more into pole vaulting. Barrett did track for four years and cross country as a senior.”
Desotell’s mom grew up in Champaign, Illinois, while her dad is from Green Bay.
“My parents met in Milwaukee,” she said. “My mom was a swimmer and a diver in high school, and my dad ran track.”
Desotell played basketball during her freshman year at Notre Dame but said she has no regrets about not continuing with the sport.
“I played lots of basketball in middle school,” she said. “I found my passion for running and stopped basketball after my freshman year. It would have been a big time commitment to stay healthy playing three sports.”
Desotell is still undecided about her college choice but said she’d like to run at the Division I level.
“I don’t see myself staying in Wisconsin for college,” she said. “I’d like to venture out – I have a list of about eight colleges that are possibilities. I’ll most likely study something business-related.”
In her free time, Desotell likes spending time at her family’s cottage in Door County, boating, waterskiing, jet-skiing, tubing, shopping and playing with her dog.
She also likes sushi, Koko Sushi Bar & Lounge, chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream, watching “Gossip Girl” on Netflix, the month of June, the color blue, the phone app Instagram and watching football at Notre Dame.