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Track and Field: Taking on challenge pays off for Chewelah’s Kaitlin Krouse

Kaitlin Krouse has proven her parents wrong.

They wanted her to play fastpitch softball in high school. After all, that was the sport she had grown up playing.

But Krouse was ready for a change, a challenge.

“I like to prove people wrong,” the Chewelah junior said. “They didn’t think I’d be successful in track. I said, ‘Well, watch me.’ ”

Krouse gravitated to shot put and discus. Last year, she qualified for state in the discus and placed third.

That was the fuel she needed to prime the pump. She heads to the State 1A track meet today and Saturday at Eastern Washington University ranked No. 1 in the state in the discus and fifth in the shot.

Imagine first-year Chewelah coach Shirley Baker’s delight when she arrived and found out she had a potential state champion. She’s coached her share of state title contenders on the West Side.

“She is very dedicated, one of the most coachable athletes I’ve been around,” Baker said. “She only accepts the best efforts from herself.”

Krouse is a three-sport athlete. She was a starter this year in both volleyball and basketball. The 5-foot-11 post averaged a double-double most of the time in basketball.

There’s no doubt, though, what sport she loves the most these days.

“You have to be willing to put in the time and effort,” she said. “In the offseason I work out all the time so I’m ready for track season.”

Chewelah graduate Greg Rainer has been a volunteer assistant and Krouse’s coach the past two years.

“He told me last year that if I put in the time that I could go some place with throwing,” Krouse said. “That put things in perspective. Colleges started sending me information this spring.”

The advent of athletic.net – where the top feats of track athletes nationwide can be found – has become quite the recruiting tool, Baker said. No longer does an athlete have to be at a big school in a big town.

Krouse reeled in the school record in the discus this year and extended it to 138 feet, 10 inches. She recently broke the school record in the shot at 39-4.

She came into the season wanting to throw about 140 in the discus and 40 in the shot.

“I’m almost there,” she said.

No time like the final week of the season to reach those distance goals. If she does, she’ll likely win a state title in the discus and challenge in the shot.

“That would be pretty cool,” she said. “Not many people can say that they’re a state champion.”

She’s already thinking about next year, too. Not in terms of state titles but in distances. She wants to throw between 150-160 in the discus and about 45 in the shot.

“The measure of her success falls predominantly on her because she wants to improve all the time,” Baker said. “And going for a state title is something that fuels her.”