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Success for Wexter

August 5, 2008
By JOSH MEYER, Sports Writer

Athletic success seems to run in the family for Jenna and Connor Wexter.

The brother-sister duo, who are the grandchildren of Fort Dodge residents Jim and Carol Reis, have each flourished in their respective sporting endeavors.

During her remarkable prep career at Lincoln-Way Central High School in New Lenox, Ill., Jenna placed at state three consecutive years in the pole vault competition, earning a gold medal in both the indoor and outdoor events as a senior. She had previously won the indoor and was runner-up in the outdoor in her junior campaign.

In addition, Wexter holds both the Lincoln-Way Central indoor (12 feet, six inches) and outdoor (11-6) vault records, and also qualified for state in the sprint medley relay as a freshman.

After a back injury forced Jenna to give up her pursuit of becoming a gymnast, the University of Northern Iowa recruit ultimately decided to turn her full attention to pole vaulting following her freshman year in high school.

''Jenna just loves pole vaulting,'' said Jenna's mother Sara, a 1982 graduate of St. Edmond High School. ''She started it three years ago and ended up breaking all the conference, sectional and state records.

''She had a chronic Achilles tendonitis injury this year at state and probably shouldn't have competed, but she's recuperated now for UNI. Northern Iowa just switched coaches, and Jenna will be the only woman on the team, but she decided to stay there and work with the new coach anyway.''

Meanwhile, Connor - a standout volleyball player at Lincoln-Way Central - recently traveled to Salt Lake City (Utah) to participate in the junior olympics for a third straight year. As a result of his outstanding performance, he was selected to the 16-and-under all-tournament team.

''We're lucky that the state of Illinois has boys volleyball,'' Sara said. ''Connor plays both high school and club. His club team has had tremendous success. They went in as the No. 1 seed in the country this year, but finished fifth. His team won qualifying tournaments in St. Louis and Chicago and went unbeaten in winning the California Volleyball Association Tournament, which featured 72 teams.

''Connor was MVP of both his club and sophomore teams as a freshman and is just starting the recruiting process.''

Jim Reis is delighted with the achievements of his grandchildren.

''I'm so proud of both of them,'' said Reis, a 1961 SEHS graduate. ''There are a lot of kids that do it, but it's extra special when it's your grandchildren.

''We always enjoyed driving down to Chicago to see them compete. They both put a lot of time and effort in.''

Jenna and Connor's father, Randy, is a professional golf instructor at Calumet Country Club in Homewood, Ill., and their older sister, Halli, was a high school conference golf champion who currently attends Miami University (Ohio).

Sara is obviously proud of her children.

''They love sports and are good students, too,'' Sara said. ''I think they've found their niche.''

The Wexters are also related to the Brainard, Halligan, Hurdel and Ruge families of Fort Dodge. Carol Reis comes from an athletic family of three brothers and seven sisters as well.

Contact Josh Meyer at (515) 573-2141, or by e-mail at



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