By Curtis Carden
Unicoi County High School junior Stephanie Wisse was just one-hundredth of a second away from qualifying for the state track and field competition in 2015. This year, she made every moment count.
Participating in a bevy of events all season long and earning success in the postseason, Wisse competed in the 100-meter hurdles during the TSSAA Spring Fling state competition in Murfreesboro on Thursday, May 26.
Wisse, who started hurdling just two months ago, earned all-state honors and finished in fourth place overall with a time of 15.18 in the blistering heat on the campus of Middle Tennessee State University.
“I had to learn a new technique and new approach to working at the events this year,” Wisse told The Erwin Record on Thursday. “After finishing in the top two in the sectional, I felt relieved. During practice before the state meet, I wasn’t as stressed out as much as before. It was exciting and a great way to end the year.”
Coaches Megan Davis and Thad Higgins, along with a host UCHS teammates, made the trip down with Wisse the night before the competition. Using the experience as a bonding moment for the team, Davis praised her junior runner following the event.
“I couldn’t be prouder of Steph,” Davis said. “It’s different in this atmosphere at the Spring Fling. Stephanie prepared well for the event and had the right mindset going in against the best of the best and represented Unicoi County very well. She had her name up there with some of the best runners in the state.”
Wisse’s finish marks the second straight year a Lady Devil competed in the ‘Boro – Laura Rogers earned all-state honors in the pole vault competition in 2015.
“Stephanie was so close to qualifying last year,” Davis said. “This year just makes it much better for her and we had some of the other team members make the trip to see what it’s like at the state level. We’ve talked about it all year long. Coach Higgins and myself are working to building back the program at Unicoi County High School and this only helps for the future.”
This season brought a vast amount of accolades to Wisse, including conference and regional titles and earning the Most Outstanding Female Runner for the second consecutive year at the TriCitiesSports.com Relays. The workload helped for the year, she said, and will look to be carried over into 2017.
“It definitely helped me a lot this season,” Wisse said. “I’m looking forward to next year. I know I can keep getting faster and better. I want to continue being a leader for this team and do everything I can to help the team and Unicoi County.”