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Voyageur's Best Sports of 2004

Star Houck

Still runnin’
 
Former Cromwell track athlete, back in competition
 
by John Grones  | May 18, 2004
 

It took Star Houck a few years to realize it, but she missed running competitively. Star is now completing her senior year at the University of Wisconsin-Superior (UWS). She will graduate on May 15 with a degree in Exercise Science and she has no regrets.

No regrets, because she decided to join the winter (indoor) and spring (outdoor) track programs, where she excelled. “I missed being in track,” said Star who has always enjoyed running. “I figured I ran all the time anyway, so I might as well go out for the team.”

The UWS track team was very attractive to Star, especially with the new training facility. The 115,000 square-foot building includes an indoor track where Star began training for the winter indoor track season.

Star’s success began immediately. According to her coach, Paul Nisius, she started out running the 400, 500, and 1,000 meter races. She established school records in all three. Her time of 3:13.93 in the 1,000 meters, broke the record held by former All-American runner Sarah Anderson. Star also added two more relay records and just missed the 1,500 meter run record.

Coach Nisius eventually recognized that Star’s strength was running longer distances. By the time the spring outdoor season rolled around, he had her running the 10,000 meters, which is a little over a six mile race. Star began with a 2nd place finish at an Eau Claire meet in Wisc. She ran a time of 40:47 and then bettered the time by thirty seconds at the Drake Alternative held at Gustavus Adolphus. She won the event with a time of 40:15.98.

At that point both Star and her coach became fired up about the approaching Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (WIAC) meet. “Our conference is one of the most difficult in the nation,” commented coach Nisius. “We set a goal to compete in the top ten.”

Star on the other hand set a goal to medal which involved placing in the top eight. She placed seventh out of 18 participants with a time of 40:16.58 and achieved her goal.

At Cromwell High School, Star was a standout track athlete where she participated in the 400 meter dash, 1600 meter run, the 800 meter relay and the high jump. The high jump is where she excelled the most. She was a state participant in 1998 and 1999. She also holds two records. Her high jump of 5’6” is a Cromwell record shared with Jackie Bloemendaal and she was on the all-time best 800 meter relay team. Star, Jackie Bloemendaal, Sara Smith and Ashley Jobe ran a 1:51.6.

Following the season, Star was voted the MVP for the team and now she will prepare for her internship at Riverwood HealthCare in Aitkin. She will be working in cardiac rehab.

This article first appeared in the May 18, 2004 issue of the Voyageur Press.