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From golf to high jump, Mattson qualifies for state

By Rich Palzewic
Sports Editor

SEYMOUR – Seymour senior Logan Mattson has had an interesting high school sports journey, to say the least.

Nearly qualifying for the Wisconsin Interscholastic Athletic Association (WIAA) Division 2 State Track and Field Championships as a freshman, Mattson did so as a sophomore in the pole vault and high jump.

At state, he finished 10th in the high jump (6 feet, 4 inches) and 13th in the pole vault (13 feet).

Then, the COVID-19 pandemic hit, and everything changed for Mattson.

“Because the 2020 track and field season was canceled, I started golfing more,” Mattson said. “My freshman year, I did both golf and track during the spring at Seymour. I didn’t start golfing much until then, but I work at a golf course.”

Mattson said before COVID-19 canceled the 2020 track season, he was pole vaulting “very well.”

“I had gotten up to more than 14 feet in preparation for the season,” he said. “When COVID-19 hit, it was hard on me because I had worked so hard to get better. I figured I wasn’t going to pole vault or high jump in college, so I didn’t go out for track my senior year – I joined the golf team instead.”

During this time, Mattson committed to the golf team at the University of Dubuque, a Division III college in Iowa.

When his golf season ended a few weeks ago at Seymour, Mattson said he went to watch his classmates participate in the Bay Conference track and field meet at West De Pere High School.

Under normal circumstances, a Wisconsin high school athlete has to participate in four track meets to be eligible for regionals and beyond.

Due to the difficulties surrounding COVID-19, the WIAA waived the four-meet requirement for this season only, something Mattson said he wasn’t aware of.

“When I watched my friends at the conference meet, I also had more free time because golf was done,” he said. “I knew the conversation (about me rejoining the track team) would come up. My coaches let me know the WIAA got rid of most of the requirements because of COVID-19, so they asked me if I wanted to high jump at regionals.”

True to his character, Mattson said he thought long and hard about his decision to return because he didn’t want to take away a potential postseason spot for another Seymour athlete.

“My coaches told me that wouldn’t be the case,” he said. “I know how hard all athletes work for the chance to advance in the postseason – it takes lots of time and effort. With careful consideration and some convincing, I thought about it overnight and decided to come back for regionals.”

Mattson came back in a big way.

“I practiced for a week before regionals and then uncorked a 6-2 jump and won,” he said.

A few days later, Mattson qualified for state with a second-place jump of 6-4.

“With the way things have gone with me recently getting back into track, I’m simply happy to be representing Seymour at state,” he said. “Anything I do in La Crosse is icing on the cake. Making it there was my No. 1 goal, so I don’t have any expectations.”

With golf at Dubuque beginning this fall, Mattson said he didn’t want to risk injury by doing the pole vault at regionals, so he stuck with the high jump only.

“Snapping a pole or missing the mat when you land is a real thing,” he said. “I want to be ready for the golf season this fall at Dubuque.”

The 2021 WIAA State Track and Field Championships is Thursday-Saturday, June 24-26, at Veterans Memorial Stadium on the campus of the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse.

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