MANKATO — It began simply as a way to stay in shape for volleyball and basketball. Now it has become an endeavor she truly enjoys.
Mankato East senior Taylor Karge has narrowed her college choices down to Gustavus Adolphus and Wisconsin-River Falls. She expects to make a decision within the next two weeks as to where she will continue her basketball career.
In the meantime, she’s fully entrenched in the track and field season. Her specialties are the high jump and triple jump, but she also helps out in the 4x400-meter relay.
“I went to seventh and eighth grade at Mt. Olive Lutheran,” Karge said. “So I didn’t get to East until I was a freshman. I went out for track just to stay active, to stay busy, but I’ve learned to enjoy it a lot more than I thought I would.”
To date, Karge’s personal best jumps are a 5-feet even in the high jump and 33-6 in the triple. She hopes to surpass both those marks this season.
“Ultimately, I guess I’d like to go to state, but I think everybody is going to tell you that,” she said. “The main goal is to just keep improving. If you work hard, good things happen.”
Karge has been competing on the 4x4 relay since her sophomore season. She started out just running some open 400s before the coaches thought she’d be a good fit for the relay.
“I really like that event,” she said. “The jumps are individual events where you are basically competing against yourself, but the relay is a lot more team oriented.”
Coach Neil Paarmann said Karge’s intention to make herself better in her other sports has really helped the track program.
“We preach that track and field is going to make you stronger and quicker and that carries over into just about all the other sports,” Paarmann said. “Taylor bought into that, and now she’s having a blast. Her athleticism is really shining through.”