Witt-Birn senior to continue running at Winona

Pietz is a 3-time state champion

Photo by Tina Bacon Wittenberg-Birnamwood High School senior Maddy Pietz signed her letter of intent to run track and field at Winona State University next year. The photo includes, from left, father Brian Pietz, Maddy Pietz, mother Heidi Pietz and sister Halle Pietz.

Wittenberg-Birnamwood High School senior Maddy Pietz will continue her track and field career at Winona State University next year.

The reigning WIAA Division 2 state champion in the 400-meter dash signed a letter of intent with the Minnesota university Nov. 1.

“I got letters from a lot of schools,” Pietz said. “A lot of Big Ten colleges contacted me after freshman year, and I started to believe it was something I could do.

“My mom told me to keep my options open, and so I found Winona. I went and visited and everything was just amazing. The coach was great. The school, the atmosphere — it all just aligned with the type of person I am.”

Pietz has a history of success as a Charger.

“Freshman year, I wasn’t really sure what to expect,” she said. “I knew I was fast but didn’t know if I’d be fast enough to be good at the sport.”

She found out that she was fast enough — and then some.

Pietz was runner-up in the 100 and 200 meters at the state meet as a freshman and a member of the 4x400-meter relay team that also placed second.

She was second again in the 100 and 200 as a sophomore but helped the 4x400 relay team win a state title and set a state record.

She switched to the 400 as a junior and won her first individual state title.

“I really wanted that individual gold,” Pietz said. “There was already a really fast 100 runner on our team, so I switched events from the 100 to the 400, and it ended up being great for me.”

She also finished as runner-up in the 200 and was again on the champion 4x400 squad.

Although Pietz has committed to Winona, she still has lofty goals for her final year at Witt-Birn.

“I’m going to work hard to repeat as champion in the 400, advance as far as I can in the 200 and get a third straight state win in the 4x400 relay,” she said.

Pietz’s passion for the sport comes from her ability to push herself.

“I love the fact that it’s mostly on you, so you’re constantly pushing your limits,” she said. “You think you’re running as fast as you can, but then you find out you can always improve and run faster. That gives me fire. I love knowing that I’m always defying the expectations of myself.”

She has not set any expectations yet for her time at Winona.

“I’ll need to find my groove once I get there,” she said. “I could be running short or long distances, depending on how I progress once I’m there.”

Pietz plans on studying movement science while at Winona, with the goal of becoming a physician assistant.