Schmoll off to strong start at West De Pere
By Rich Palzewic
DE PERE – Kate Schmoll, a West De Pere High School freshman, is off to a strong start for the Phantoms cross country and swimming teams.
Setting records as a middle school runner, Schmoll has carried that confidence into the high school ranks.
She recently won the De Pere Invitational and finished second at the Bay Port Pirates Invitational at Meadowbrook Park.
“My earliest memory with running comes from when I was 7 years old,” Kate, the daughter of Roger Schmoll and Sharon Riederer, said. “I did a 2-mile, walk/run called the JDRF (Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation). My sister has Type 1 diabetes. I remember running ahead and running back to meet my parents again.”
Schmoll also participated in the Bellin Running Club for a few years, starting as a 9-year old at Hemlock Creek Elementary School.
Schmoll said she didn’t give much thought to running as a youngster.
“In my first Bellin Run, I didn’t have a clue what it was about,” she laughed. “I just ran to run. It was exciting racing with so many people. My dad came to me after the race and told me I was first in the 9-10 girls. I thought I had won up until the awards ceremony, but then we realized we had to refresh the (phone) app. I finished second.”
In her first Bellin 10-kilometer Run, Schmoll’s time of 52:44 had her averaging 8:30 per mile.
She won her age group at the race in 2017 and 2019.
Schmoll has some lofty goals for this season, but she said she’s focused on each race.
“I think about the parts of the race where I can do better,” she said. “It’s great to get a best time every time, but I give the best I have that day. I take one race at a time.”
Schmoll’s older brother, Matthew, is also a member of the high school cross country team.
Her younger sister, Kara, is also on the middle school team.
West De Pere’s High School cross country teams are coached by Jay Johnson.
Strong in the pool, too
Not to be outdone in cross country, Schmoll also excels in the pool.
She recently finished first in a dual meet with Bay Port in the 200-yard individual medley (2:13.40) and the 100 butterfly (1:00.41).
The combined team with De Pere High School is coached by Pat Mueller.
Besides attending school, Schmoll said she’s doing homework, running, swimming, eating or sleeping.
“I’m used to it from middle school,” she said. “I have a passion for swimming as I do running. On a typical day, I’m out of school at 2:40, meet for cross country practice after and run until about 3:40. My mom or dad picks me up, and we drive to St. Norbert for swimming practice. I go home, eat dinner, do homework and go to bed. Both sports complement each other.”
Riederer said she’s grateful West De Pere’s athletic director, Scott Eggart, allows her daughter to pursue both sports at the same time.
“Currently, I don’t believe she has to pick only one sport,” she said. “Young men and women need to explore lots of things in their life. Variety is good.”
Schmoll, who said she’d like to swim, run or do both in college, doesn’t do a winter high school sport but participates in club swimming and runs on the side.
She’ll lace up the shoes again next spring on the track team.