Waseca senior, Brett Attenberger, competed at the state cross country meet twice with his team as an eighth grader and ninth grader.
This year, the senior made his individual debut at the big race, coming back after a heart condition bumped him out of the top ten in 2016’s section meet.
Last year, Waseca senior Brett Attenberger was poised to qualify for the state cross country meet until suffering an injury at sections.
“I went from seventh place to 45th, ended up collapsing at the finish line, after that, I kept losing and regaining consciousness,” said Attenberger.
Attenberger was taken by ambulance to the emergency room, and later moved to Children’s Minneapolis.
“Athlete’s Heart is what they called it, so it was an enlarged heart muscle, had the heart muscle been one mm bigger, they would have put him on four months of restrictions,” said Krista Adams, Brett's parent.
“It was just a lot of confusion, like why did this happen to me, how did it happen, I kept asking myself that for a couple days afterward,” said Attenberger.
After a few weeks off, Attenberger started putting in those winter miles and had a decent track season before ramping things up during the summer.
“That’s when I really started to put in the work, I trained with Shane and Cole Streich, they’re running D-1 for South Dakota and Minnesota. I think that’s what really helped me this fall,” said Attenberger.
He returned with sights set on a state appearance and did just that by placing ninth in the section 1 AA meet. Racing to PR after PR in the second half of the season.
“I was just hoping for a top nine spot to make it to state, fortunate enough I qualified, and then I PR’ed again to, at state I got my best time, 16:29, it was so cool,” said Attenberger.
“The times he ran the last month, it was pretty crazy for him, seven seconds, eight seconds better each week, he peaked at the right time,” said Jason Attenberger, Brett's parent.
“He works incredibly hard, and he’s done so his entire career, it’s nice to see it pay off at this point,” said Grant Popp, Waseca head coach.
Attenberger placed 61st in the Class AA state meet a year after not knowing if he’d be able to run competitively again.
“There always was that doubt in my mind that that could possibly happen, and fortunate enough it didn’t. Now I’m hoping to be running in college next year, it’s really cool that’ I’ll be able to have this opportunity in my life,” said Attenberger.
Wrapping up his high school cross country career in style.
Attenberger must see a doctor once a year to make sure everything is normal, but so far, the senior hasn’t had any setbacks since last year’s hospitalization.