By CONOR NICHOLL
The Osborne Kaser Relays has occurred for nearly two decades and is annually one of Kansas’ top small school meets. This year, the April 23 competition featured 20 teams. Victoria sophomore Macy Hammerschmidt won her two events. She ran 12.49 seconds in the 100-meter dash prelims and posted 12.65 seconds in the final.
Hammerschmidt hit the board perfectly and captured the long jump by more than a foot when she leaped 16 feet, 7.75 inches, a new meet record.
The 100 time is among the top-20 for all classes, per Carol Swenson’s statewide list. She has since posted 16-10 in the long jump. As of April 24, just one 1A girl had cleared 17 feet in the long jump.
Those elite marks came less than a month after Hammerschmidt spent multiple days at Hays Medical Center and Wichita’s Wesley Medical Center because of acute kidney problems. Her long jump at Osborne marked the first time she had done the event since her return.
“I know I am totally capable of jumping that length,” Hammerschmidt said this week. “Plus hoping to be even farther. But just for being my first time long jumping coming back, I wasn’t expecting to set that record.”
Victoria opened the track season at the La Crosse Invitational on April 1. The next day, Hammerschmidt became ill. Hammerschmidt is still trying to full regain strength.
“At first, I was like really scared,” Hammerschmidt said. “Because the doctors came in and they had no idea what was going on, so I just kept thinking worst case scenario constantly. And then, when we did get down to Wesley, they also didn’t know what was wrong for a couple of days. So I was in constant fear and panic the whole time until we finally did figure out what was wrong.”
Hammerschmidt is the middle of three children for Cory and Natasha Hammerschmidt, a well-known family in the Hays and Victoria area. Cory and Natasha are both Victoria graduates from the ’90s. Natasha has served nearly 18 years as the Client Services Manager at Werth Management in Hays.
She is avid about fitness and daily lifts at Munsch Fitness in Hays, generally at 4:30 a.m. or sometimes over lunch. Macy will sometimes lift with her mother at night or on the weekends. The family also has a setup at Macy’s grandparents.
“We lift all the time,” Macy said.
Macy started to enjoy the weight room in seventh grade. Dan Rogers is Victoria’s veteran assistant high school football coach and strength and conditioning instructor for VHS’ junior high and high school. He noticed Macy’s athleticism, including on Olympic lifts, in seventh grade.
“She could move very well for a kid that age,” Rogers said. “Things clicked a little quicker than anybody else her age, like with our (Olympic) clean movements, she picked it up pretty quick, just the way she ran. Knees in front, good arm action, tight, under control. I mean, she picks things up a lot faster than the other kids her age. And I was like, ‘OK, she probably could have something here if she keeps a good attitude and keeps at it.’”
The 5-foot-5 Hammerschmidt already holds multiple school records in nine measurements that Rogers tracks. She has Victoria’s best times in the 40-yard dash (5.09 seconds laser time), 3-cone drill (7.56 seconds), pro agility (4.54) and broad jump (94 inches). Hammerschmidt has the fastest 40-yard dash ever by a girl at the High Plains Sports Medicine Combine.
In the fall, Hammerschmidt played No. 1 doubles nearly the entire year and finished with a 14-17 record and nearly reached the state tournament.
Hammerschmidt tore her left hamstring at the beginning of basketball season. She didn’t play from Dec. 16 to Jan. 8. Once she returned, Hammerschmidt helped Victoria to a 15-5 mark and three-win improvement from last winter. Victoria enjoyed its most wins since 2011-12.
“It was definitely a struggle not being able to play,” she said.
Hammerschmidt performed “a ton of rehab” with Shawn Landers, the longtime respected trainer at High Plains Sports Medicine in Hays. Landers has many years of service with La Crosse and Victoria.
During Christmas break, Hammerschmidt was constantly in the gym and weight room with Landers. She mainly worked with bands, along with core work to improve hip flexibility. Normally, Hammerschmidt went for 60 to 90 minutes.
“We were just getting everything back to normal,” Hammerschmidt said.
Hammerschmidt felt healthy at the midseason Hoisington tournament, which coach Kristin Werth called a key turning point in the year. Victoria won the Hoisington tournament and eventually enjoyed 11 straight victories from Jan. 18 to Feb. 25.
The Knights’ current group includes junior Melany Huser, seniors Lydia Sander and Brooklynn Kuhn, junior Kaitlyn Windholz, junior Kassi Weber and sophomore Brooklyn Nowak. Several of the Knights are key softball players for 12-2 Victoria/Russell this spring. Later this week, senior Kinley Windholz was also honored as a 2021 Governor’s Scholar as one of the top 1 percent of Kansas seniors.
“They’ve got really good athletes,” St. John basketball coach Danny Smith told me this winter.
Hammerschmidt finished with 7.8 points, four rebounds and 3.1 steals per game, according to the Knights’ last statistical release. Hammerschmidt said the hamstring is “totally fixed.”
“We had a fantastic season as a team,” Hammerschmidt said. “I mean, the hamstring was definitely a setback, but I came back better, and it honestly worked out great.”
On a cold day, Hammerschmidt posted 13.55 seconds and a second-place showing in the 100-meter dash at the Thursday, April 1 meet at La Crosse. It marked Hammerschmidt’s first-ever high school track meet after the pandemic cancelled last spring.
“It was pretty nerve-wracking actually,” she said.
She won the 200 in 28.60 seconds and was second in the 400 in 1:06.24. Hammerschmidt and teammate Kaitlyn Windholz went 2-3 in the long jump and both hit 16-2. Hammerschmidt had previously focused more on the hurdles.
Then, Hammerschmidt encountered the kidney issue.
“I took ibuprofen then,” she said. “And then that, mixed with being dehydrated, and a mixture of a virus kind of caused it. And then Friday morning, I woke up and just felt awful. And I was throwing up, and it was just not good.”
Sunday morning, Hammerschmidt still didn’t feel well. She went to the emergency room. The first diagnosis was possible appendicitis. A CT scan was performed, and Hammerschmidt’s appendix was fine.
“But there was inflammation around both of my kidneys,” she said.
The ER doctor said Hammerschmidt needed to go to a pediatric kidney specialist. They sent her from Hays to Wesley Medical Center in Wichita. She spent a couple days in Wichita.
“There were a ton of doctors down there, and two kidney specialists that I saw,” she said.
Hammerschmidt recovered – and saw the positive.
“Good break I feel like,” Hammerschmidt. “Like my body was just exhausted from everything. Constantly lifting, and I think the break was good for me mentally. Like I just needed a little bit of recovery time, but now that I am back, I couldn’t be happier.”
Hammerschmidt missed the April 13 Ness City meet. She returned April 19 for Plainville. Hammerschmidt just competed in the 100 and won the race in 13.01 seconds.
“After I ran, I was really exhausted,” Hammerschmidt said. “Like I had never been that tired after a race. But I think it was just from being in the hospital bed for so long and not really being able to get up and be active. But starting last week, I have been getting in the weight room three times a week like normal.”
Hammerschmidt was usually drinking 55 ounces a day. Now, she has to drink 80 ounces of plain water everyday.
“I can’t count Gatorade,” Hammerschmidt said.
Hammerschmidt has set goals to have her 100 time in the mid-12 seconds. She wanted to significantly improve her 200 time. Hammerschmidt has looked to improve her conditioning for the 400.
“It was kind of a surprise, because of how good of an athlete she is,” Rogers said. “… Thankfully, communication was really good with her mom and her track coaches and everything, so we kind of knew that she was going to be OK. She was stable. It was just going to be matter of time depending how fast her body took to the recovery that they prescribed once they figured it out.”
She checks out the state leaderboards “a lot.” At La Crosse, Hammerschmidt and Larned sophomore Jayme Hagerman were in different heats in the 100. Hammerschmidt wanted to run against her. At Osborne, Hammerschmidt said she had a “lot of adrenaline” because of her competition. She likes to face Ellis’ Emily Eck in the 400.
“That was frustrating, and I have been out for awhile,” Hammerschmidt said. “But I am getting back, and times are getting better. It’s going good.”
On April 26, Hammerschmidt and Victoria competed at Hill City. She won the 100 in 12.86 seconds and posted 16-10 in the long jump, better than her Osborne mark.
“I am feeling lots better,” she said. “Basically back to normal. I mean, I am still a little winded when I do stuff track-wise, but I am getting there.”
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