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Track and field: Record breaking connection for Paschka

Kaye Paschka

It may sound like a broken record hearing about the kind of year Kaye Paschka is having for the Alexandria girls track team That's because she can't stop breaking records.

On May 21st in Brainerd, Paschka set a new bar in the 300-meter hurdles that hadn't been touched since 1988. Her time of 44.47 seconds in that race was a CLC and school record. Paschka's fastest times over the last four years will go down as some of the best in school history, but this one hit closer to home.

Her mother, Tara, attended Brainerd High School and one of her classmates was Trend Fields. In 1988, Fields set the conference record in the 300-meter hurdles — a record that stood for 31 years until Paschka came along to break it this season.

"My hurdles coach, Jerry Amundson, has wanted me to break this one for awhile," Paschka said. "My mom looked up who the record holder was and she saw that it was one of her high school classmates. It was kind of cool that I got to break a really old record that was from a person my mom went to school with."

Through her job, Tara still keeps in contact with Fields.

"I work for the state health department in St. Paul and Tara works for the health department in Alexandria so we talk back-and-forth sometimes," Fields said. "She emailed me starting last year about how her daughter would run the 100-meter and 300-meter hurdles, which is what I ran in high school."

Fields was emphatic about Paschka's performance. As a fan of the sport and as a friend of the family, she was proud to receive the message that her record was broken.

"(Tara) likes to keep me updated about how Kaye is doing," Fields said. "She told me that she broke my record at the CLC Championship meet in Brainerd. I was really happy for her, and I'm glad it was her because we have that connection."

Returning to state

Paschka will compete at the state meet on Friday and Saturday after an impressive Section 8AA meet in Willmar last Saturday. Paschka has not just settled for winning this season, and she broke three more records in all three of her individual events at sections.

In the 100-meter hurdles, Paschka set a school and section record with a time of 14.43. She broke her own school record in the 300-meter hurdles with a time of 44.03. She also broke the school record in the triple jump (37-00), which was set by Rosey Erikson in 2011.

"I knew this was my last year competing for the Cardinals and I took it a lot more seriously than I did other years," Paschka said. "I think I've matured in the sport over the past few seasons. I wanted to make this a special year and I wanted to hit my goals."

Paschka, who will run at Augustana University in Sioux Falls in college, is one of the many Cardinals having career years. When the section meet was finished, Alexandria had 17 athletes qualify for state between the boys and girls programs. The boys and girls true teams also qualified for the state tournament.

Paschka attributes a large part of her success to her faith. Before every meet, she takes a moment to pray.

"Religion is definitely a big part of me and sports," she said. "I pray before every meet and every game in my other sports. I've been doing it my whole life. I believe that if I compete for God and do it for him that I do a lot better than if I was just competing for myself."

Making it to state isn't the endgame for Paschka. Her expectations have exceeded just taking part, but instead taking over.

"I'm probably going to be ranked high in both my hurdles events," Paschka said. "I want to compete. I'm going to take this week and work with my coaches. It's about trusting the process. I trust the people around me."

Paschka goes into Friday's prelims at Hamline University with the fastest seed time in the 100-meter hurdles (14.43) and second fastest seed time of anyone in the 300-meter hurdles race at 44.03. Edina's Evelyn Adams ran a 43.81 in the 300 earlier this year.

Come Saturday, Paschka will have one more familiar face in the crowd.

"I am planning on going to the state meet because I want to see how well she can do," Fields said. "I told Tara that I hope Kaye breaks the state record. She's a really impressive athlete, and I can't wait to watch her run."

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