Two time Women’s Boom Running World Champion Meredith Ingbretson enters her second season as a center forward on the Pointer women’s hockey team.
In 2012 Ingbretson became Women’s Boom Running World Champion after seven months of rehab following a torn anterior cruciate ligament during hockey season.
“It felt really good,” Ingbretson said. “Especially after my injury.”
The tearing of the same ACL the following year forced Ingbretson to take the 2013 rolling season off.
“Senior year I tore it again but I wanted to play my senior year so I waited to have surgery and wore a brace so I could play hockey,” Ingbretson said.
Ingbretson joined the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point women’s hockey team after a long high school career.
“I had to wait two or three weeks before I could skate with the team,” Ingbretson said.
“It took a little bit for her to get over the fear of tearing your ACL for a third time,” said women’s hockey head coach Ann Ninnemann. “An ACL injury and surgery is mentally and physically taxing.”
Fortunately, upon her return in 2014 Ingbretson was able to snag another Women’s Boom Running World Champion title.
World titles received at the professional level consist of athletes aged 16-35. Ingbretson started competing professionally when she was fifteen and earned her spot early.
“I won semi-pro at 14 so I became a professional athlete at 15,” Ingbretson said. “I was grandfathered in.”
This event is a bit different than log rolling. Contestants run across anywhere from six to nine logs around a barrel and back as fast as they can. Ingbretson can complete this in 14.3 seconds.
Ingbretson’s sister Greta introduced her to the sport when they were four and nine respectively.
They grew up competing in different age groups but now both compete at the professional level.
“I don’t know if we’ve ever rolled together in competition,” Ingbretson said.
This unique sport is common in Ingbreston’s hometown Hayward, Wis.
Logrolling is also prominent in Hudson, Wis., Washington state, Maine and Nova Scotia.
Logrolling started with lumberjacks who cut down trees and floated them down the river to millponds. From there the logs would have to be pushed around and unstuck.
This was dangerous work and many people died. During breaks and to keep their work interesting there were competitions to see who was the best or the fastest. This was the birth of the sport we have today.
Today, logrolling consists of two people on one of four different size logs ranging from 12 inches to 15 inches in diameter.
“The smaller logs spin faster and float lower, so with bigger people sometimes your feet can touch the water,” Ingbretson said.
The centerline cannot be crossed and competitors are not allowed to touch each other, but they are allowed to splash and kick water at them.
In female competition, competitors start on the two log, 14 inches in diameter, and are timed for a minute after which they move down to a three log, 13 inches in diameter, and given a three-minute time limit.
Finally, they move to the third and final log that is 12 inches in diameter with no time limit.
“It’s the best 3 out of 5 falls. Basically you want to be the last one on the log,” Ingbretson said. “It’s all about quick feet and quick reaction to the way the log is spinning.”
Boom running is a little bit more varied. The sizes and lengths of the logs differ from tournament to tournament.
“These logs are all interchangeable to give the competitors something different every year and we usually change the order when we put the logs back in the water in the spring,” Ingbretson said.
Ingbretson’s sister is also got her interested in hockey at age five.
“I wouldn’t have been in half the stuff if it wasn’t for my sister,” Ingbretson said.
While she rolls all summer, Ingbretson spends the winter on the ice as a Pointer. There are a number of things that carry over between the two sports.
“You have to have quick feet when you roll,” Ingbretson said. “You’re always moving your feet. That’s how people stay on a log.”
The quick feet that Ingbretson establishes when she rolls gives her speed and agility on the rink.
“You have to be on your toes. Literally,” Ninnemann said. “There’s also a good amount of cross training.”
Not only do logrolling and boom running require you to be on your toes, but they also require you to be quick.
“Boom running can be kind of like sprinting,” Ingbretson said. “It’s timed so you want to be fast.”
Rolling and boom running hold a plethora of advantages.
“It brings out competitiveness and it’s good cross training,” Ninnemann said.
Looking at this year Ingbretson has some goals that she would see on the ice and logs.
“I want to see if I can get any faster in hockey and in boom running and logrolling,” Ingbretson said.
Looking specifically at hockey she has a few more things in mind.
“I want to stay where I am or improve,” Ingbretson said. “I also want to make the NCAA tournament and take the conference championship.”
Ninnemann also has a few things she would like to see from Ingbretson.
“She made a big jump from freshman to sophomore year, and I would like to see her continue to improve, gain confidence and grow as a hockey player and a person.”
The biggest thing Ingbretson learned from logrolling is the importance of hard work.
“I know everyone else is working everyone is working just as hard as me because if you have an off five minutes then you’re done,” Ingbretson said.