Hello, My Name Is: Emmitt Kietlinski

The Bowler senior may be headed to state track this week, but he’ll also be headed to the Nike Outdoor Nationals in June
Published: May. 29, 2023 at 10:56 PM CDT
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BOWLER, Wis. (WSAW) - It was apparent from a young age that Emmitt Kietlinski had ‘hops.’

“I guess I’ve always kind of had it,” said Kietlinski. “I always kind of had that natural ability and my dad always worked with me hard on it, so that’s kind of where it all started, just from kinda jumping well.”

The abundance of young talent became a focal point for Emmitt’s dad, Ted. The former high school standout himself would set up jumping drills for Emmitt in the driveway.

“I felt like my goal was to help him, aid him in that process,” said Ted Kietlinski. “Give him some extra tools to go that next level.”

Emmitt’s mom was a triple-jumper. His dad was a high jumper. Naturally, Emmitt gravitated to both. However, the Bowler senior has a special place in his heart for the high jump.

”It’s competitive,” said Emmitt. “It’s very visual and you can compete head-to-head with other people. Your opponents push you to want to jump higher.”

Ted is Emmitt’s jumping coach, having also coached him in basketball and football. His head coach says it’s been a joy to watch him compete this year.

“He really puts so much work here in practice,” said Gresham/Bowler head coach Heidi Cerveny. “It amazes me how he doesn’t get nervous, at least he doesn’t show it and he just puts in 150% every time he goes out there to perform.”

Emmitt product qualified for both the high jump and triple jump at state in 2022, placing second and third respectively. This year, he’ll be double-booked again, armed with a knowledge of what to expect in La Crosse.

“Being at a small school like this and going to other small meets, it’s totally different,” said Emmitt. “You get down to La Crosse and there’s a ton of fans everywhere. It really pumps you up in a big way to jump on such a nice track with so many fans.”

A senior this year, Emmitt will get to represent the Gresham/Bowler for a final time this week. He’ll do so as the lone representative of the team. For him, he appreciates the support getting to represent the area he grew up in.

“We have a ton of support from our community,” said Emmitt. “It gets posted on Facebook, my results and I get a ton of support and comments and likes and a ton of people come up and congratulate me and say, “Oh we’re such a small community. It’s so cool that you can represent us.’ so that really makes me feel good inside.”

Emmitt’s prepared to see the state stage one last time. However, he’ll have one final showcase as a high schooler. Emmitt will compete at the 2023 Nike Outdoor Nationals on June 17th and 18th in Oregon, the pinnacle of arenas for track and field. The idea came from the very same man who set up jumping drills in the yard.

“My dad’s just like, ‘You know, if you really want, we should go compete at Nationals in Oregon,’ said Emmitt. “I was like ‘Aw, that’d be awesome,’ so that’ll be a great way to end my high school track career.”

Emmitt’s personal best in the high jump is 6′8″, a mark that ranks second in Wisconsin among any division. His best in the long jump 44′ 11. The marks are remarkable on their own. However, for Emmitt’s dad, competing at Nationals has just as much to do with the achievements as it does the work ethic.

”It’s just a great way to reward a kid who’s played three sports, who’s dedicated himself year-round to these things,” said Ted. “We’re going to go out there. No matter how he fares, we’re going to enjoy the experience.”

It’ll be a family trip for the Kietlinskis. For Emmitt, it’ll be a memory he can hold forever.

”I watch it on TV and it’ll be awesome to be able to see that in the coming years to say that I’ve competed on that track,” said Emmitt.