A new challenge: Former MHS star Martha Kupfer walks on to the Badger track team
By Paul Lecker
MADISON — Marshfield High School graduate Martha Kupfer said she likes to compete with herself. She relishes a challenge.
This quest to challenge herself led her to make a big decision in the past month that she was not even thinking about a few months ago.
Kupfer, a 2015 Marshfield High graduate and three-sport athlete at the school, has walked on to the University of Wisconsin women’s track team.
While her name does not yet appear on the official Badgers roster, she earned a tryout for the squad and was informed last week that she made the team.
“I was in running club and built up my long distance endurance to 7 or 8 miles,” Kupfer said. “I had contacted the coach (Mick Byrne), and he emailed me back in December. I went to some practices and worked out, and they told me I made the team.”
Kupfer is not totally sure what her role is going to be yet on the Badgers. She did not compete at last weekend’s season-opening meet at Notre Dame and said she was not sure if she would travel to Minnesota for a meet on Saturday when contacted earlier this week.
Kupfer said she will likely be practicing in the triple jump and 400 meters and is looking forward to the grind of being a Division I athlete.
“I love the people and the atmosphere here,” Kupfer said. “They have a practice schedule set for me, and I will have a lot of one-on-one time with the coaches.”
Kupfer went the WIAA State Track and Field Championships three times in her illustrious career at Marshfield, competing in the 200 meters as a sophomore, the 400 as a junior, and both the long jump and triple jump last year as a senior, where she placed 19th and 15th, respectively, in the Division 1 field.
Kupfer said she thought that was the end of her track and field career. She had the chance to run at Division II Mankato State in Minnesota but said the school was not what she wanted and decided to go to Madison.
After a few months of not being in organized athletics, she began to get the itch to get involved again.
“I missed being on a team,” said Kupfer, who also played tennis and basketball at Marshfield. “Ever since middle school I had been on a team. I really had a hard time because I didn’t have that routine.”
Veteran Marshfield High School coach Dan Akin said Kupfer is the first Division I college girls track athlete to come out of his program, and he could not be prouder of a girl who left the Tigers with seven school records: the indoor 200, 400, 800, and as part of the 800 relay team as well as the outdoor 200, long jump, and triple jump.
“She told me right after Christmas that she was going to make a run at making the team,” Akin said. “For her to take the initiative and give it a try is just great. You just never know what you can do unless you try. It’s great that she did.”