BUTTE — After their performances at the Class B state track and field finals on Friday and Saturday, Cleet and Wrenzi Wrzesinski have earned the right to kick up their feet and relax for the rest of the holiday weekend.
Over the course of two days, the siblings combined to compete in a total of 13 track and field events for Baker High School. The returns were simply outstanding. Cleet, a senior on the boys team, captured first place in the long jump and the 200-meter dash, while Wrenzi, a sophomore on the girls squad, took home first place in the 100-meter sprint. Oh, and they pulled off a clean sweep in the four individual hurdle events.
Cleet’s seven-event effort was one for the record books. In Montana track and field, medals are awarded to the top six finishers in an event. On Saturday, the Baker senior placed in every one of his events, five of which were on the final day of the meet. As a result, he finished his storied career with the second-most boys’ medals in the history of Montana high school track and field with a total of 18.
“It’s really great (the record), but I’m dead,” Cleet Wrzesinski said through quick breaths after running the anchor for the 1,600-meter relay. “I didn’t know if I was going to make the 4×400, but I had to do it. I knew it would be tough because our divisional schedule was similar, but at state, you have to run a little bit harder.”
What’s most impressive about Cleet’s medal haul is that it took him only three years to do it. As a freshman, his family lived in China before moving back to Montana. Following his return, he attended Ennis High School for his sophomore and junior seasons, where he racked up 11 of his 18 medals.
Since 1984, Cascade High School alumnus and current Carroll head track and field coach Harry Clark has owned the medal record with a count of 20. So, did the Baker star think he could have tied or broken that mark if he’d spent all four years of his high school career in Montana?
“I think I could’ve been pretty close,” he said through a modest grin. “But I would’ve had to place (at state) as a freshman.”
MHSA rules only allow state participants to compete in five individual and two team events at the state finals, which meant Wrzesinski would have to be selective about picking his event schedule. Of course, it helps when both of your parents were collegiate track and field athletes, and your mom is an assistant coach on your team.
“I talked it through with my parents,” Wrzesinski said. “I placed in all my events (coming in) … and the only real question was between the long jump and the 400-meter (run), and we figured it would be easier to do the long jump than another running event.”
Meanwhile, Wrenzi’s age made her success at the state finals nearly as exceptional as her brother’s. It’s clear that she has her family’s pedigree considering she took home three individual state titles and just missed out on a fourth, and she’s only a sophomore.
“I did a lot better than I expected to do,” the younger Wrzesinski said. “The competition (in Class B) has been tougher (than Class C) … I’m always sick to my stomach before my first event, but it gets easier as the day goes on.”
Both siblings agreed that they’ve enjoyed their parents’ wisdom and support.
“They can be tough on us sometimes,” Cleet said. “But it’s never too much, and it always works out.”
Yes, the sport will always be a major factor in their lives, but the pair made it clear that they are siblings first and teammates second.
“We have a great relationship,” Cleet said. “We hang out a lot and get along well. Other than at practices and meets, we don’t talk a whole lot of track.”
His younger sister echoed the same sentiment.
“We’re obviously supportive of another, but we’re more like friends,” she said. “We hang out and talk about other stuff. It isn’t always about track.”