ALTOONA, Wis. (WEAU) - Mariah Hoepner instantly fell in love with high jumping as a 5th grader. Since then, the Altoona Track and Field phenom has transformed into one of the state’s premier high jumpers.
“There’s so many things to work on at once that you have to be thinking about tiny little pieces and I like the challenge that it gives," Hoepner described. "There’s never anything you can’t be working on to improve your jumps.”
With technical training from then Rails head girls coach Kevin Garnett, Hoepner improved her high jump by 3-inches at the state meet in La Crosse in 2017 to become just the third girls track and field athlete at Altoona High School to win a WIAA state championship.
“I worked hard all season and I knew what I was capable of, but to actually win the title was just mind blowing and gave me so much satisfaction and just a lot of joy,” explained Hoepner.
At 5’5”, Mariah Hoepner won the Division 2 State High Jump title last season. In her senior year, she is raising the bar. She already broke her personal record of 5’7” at the Colfax meet and she’s not done reaching new heights.
“I’m going to do my best to PR again and would like to reach that height I’m at right now," said Hoepner. "So, 5’10” is always a good goal.”
In a few weeks, Hoepner will attempt to go out as a repeat state champion without a true high jump coach. In fact, during most practices this season you can find her using the mat by herself. Despite that, Mariah credits her continued success as a senior to her offseason training. And it’s her tireless work ethic that has made a mark on the Rails program.
“We’re going to miss her tremendously, but she’s set a new tone for track and field here at Altoona," added Altoona girls track and field head coach Todd Lenz. "Her ability to work outside of track and all the conditioning she’s really made it one of those sports like a basketball player or football player would say is a year-round kind of thing.”
June 1, 2018 may mark the end of a spectacular prep career for Mariah Hoepner, but it won’t be the last time you see her leap over a bar and onto the mat. Next year she’ll be high jumping in college as a member of the Wisconsin Badgers.