MARSHALL – Winning a conference championship is a great accomplishment. Winning a championship while also snapping an opponent’s 11-year championship streak is even greater.
That feat was accomplished on May 7 by the University of Minnesota Morris women’s track and field team, which includes former Tracy-Milroy-Balaton athlete Kassidy Przymus. The College of St. Scholastica women’s track and field program had won 11 straight Upper Midwest Athletic Conference titles, which is a streak that began in 2005.
“They’ve been extremely strong in the UMAC for years,” UMM coach Jessica Devine said of the CSS streak. “Over the past few years, we’ve chipped away at the point difference and knew we had a shot this year, but also knew it wasn’t going to be easy.
“It was really a great team effort and we couldn’t be more proud of our women,” Devine added. “To have a group so young be able to step up to the plate in a big competition like that is really special and something to show a lot of promise with in the future.”
Przymus typically competes in three events for the Cougars – discus, hammer and javelin. At the UMAC Outdoor Track & Field Championships, she scored a pair of second place finishes in discus (112-5) and hammer (127-0).
The hammer and javelin are two new events for Przymus this year, but she has embraced the challenge. One of the things that has helped with the adjustment is her experience in the discus.
“I put in countless repetitions in my discus event and I have a good understanding of how to break down skills to improve my ability,” Przymus said. “Coming into track my first year at UMM, I had to compete in two events that I had never even tried. Luckily for me, I am a very fast learner and developed solid skills necessary to be competitive.”
Despite her inexperience in the event, Przymus made just shy of a 22-foot improvement on her hammer distances over the course of the outdoor season. She opened the year with a hammer throw of 105-8 at the Hamline Invitational on April 3. That distance would’ve placed her 10th at the UMAC Championships.
Her second place finish didn’t come easy, as she began the day with two out-of-bounds throws.
“The first day was very nerve-wracking,” Przymus said. “I knew I was better than how I was throwing. I knew that if I had a solid throw, it would get me into the finals and I’d get three more throws. That’s just what I did.”
Przymus made it to finals and finished second, only trailing teammate Sammi Brinkmann. Brinkmann broke the UMM school record with a throw of 163-0.
That second-place finish helped Przymus earn UMAC all-conference honors.
In addition to her second-place finishes at the conference meet, Przymus finds herself in the UMM top-10 record books in discus, hammer and javelin.
Looking back, Przymus attributes her first-year success to her time away from the game. She did not participate in track and field in her senior season at TMB to take post-secondary education option classes at Southwest Minnesota State.
“This sparked my inner drive,” Przymus said of her year off. “I did not end where I wanted to my junior year and I believed that I could reach higher highs and improve on my skills.”
Przymus was one of five freshmen throwers for UMM this season, along with one junior and one sophomore.
With three years of eligibility remaining, her coach sees a lot of upside in the former TMB athlete.
“I don’t think she fully realizes what she’s capable of yet,” Devine said. “I see big things in Kassidy’s future as a thrower for UMM. She’s an athlete, so competition comes natural to her. I think with some good work in the off-season and a little more studying and learning of her events, she could become pretty dominant in the UMAC, as well as work her way up in the rankings nationally.”