Athletic royalty at UW-W

Justin St. Peter, Sports Editor

Powered by tradition is a learning community that helps student-athletes adjust to college demands as both a student and athlete. It has also been the unofficial slogan of the UW-Whitewater athletic department. This slogan also applies to the Mierow family.
Jeff and Cathy Mierow met at UW-Whitewater’s campus and have had three children with varying degrees of success in the Warhawks athletics program.
The couple’s oldest daughter, Cara, was captain of the dance team and traveled with the football team as they performed in the National Championship game for four straight years.
The only son, Mike, won a national championship with the baseball team as the starting catcher in 2014 before graduating in 2015.
The youngest daughter, Kate, just won a national championship with the gymnastics team on March 31.
That is powered by a UW-W tradition.
Jeff Mierow coached his son ever since he was old enough to pick up a baseball all the way through high school as either head or assistant coach. He is still Brookfield Central High School’s assistant coach today.
“I don’t know why [I’m still coaching], but I guess it’s for the love of the game,” Mierow said.
2014 was a very special year for the Mierow’s.
Mike was a junior starting catcher for the Warhawks baseball team who enjoyed his most successful season at the plate. He hit .346 on the season, collecting 54 hits, 32 RBI’s and 15 stolen bases while starting 43 games, including the 7-0 victory in the World Series final against Emory University on May 27 in Appleton, Wisconsin.
Mike’s alma matter, Brookfield Central, won the high school state championship as well with Jeff still coaching and Kate a senior.
“That was beyond explainable,” Jeff Mierow said. “That was definitely the highlight of my baseball career. It’s hard to believe that actually happened … That was the year I probably should have quit coaching and hung it up.”
That summer, Kate, who had been training in gymnastics from a young age, began preparing for life as a college student and athlete for UW-Whitewater.
Her mother, Cathy, was a gymnast in high school and didn’t miss a meet Kate competed in.
“She was always my biggest supporter,” Kate Mierow said. “She wanted me to have fun
with it.”
Kate was the WIAC balance beam champion and a national qualifier in the beam as a freshman, while her brother finished out his final season as a Warhawk.
Mike Mierow finished with two straight WIAC first team nominations, second team All-Midwest Region in 2014 and American Baseball Coaches Association third team All-Midwest Region in 2015.
In her sophomore season, Kate ended up in a tie for 15th in the balance beam competition at the WIAC Championships while competing in uneven bars, her favorite event, as well. She also earned her second straight WIAC Scholastic Honor Roll recognition and Scholastic All-American recognition for the first time.
Mierow said school was always part of her life.
“Going from high school to college was actually a pretty easy transition for me,” Kate said. “School and gymnastics in college was definitely a step up to get all your work done and practices were definitely a lot longer, but the coaches are always so supportive of our school work
before practice.”
Mierow earned two All-WIAC honors for her fourth place finish on the uneven parallel bars with a score of 9.575 and a tie for third place (9.75) for her floor exercise routine at the WIAC Championships on March 17.
The following week, Mierow won the floor exercise in the team portion of the National Collegiate Gymnastics Association (NGCA) Team Championship on March 31 with a score of 9.7 to contribute to the gymnastics team’s first national championship since 2014.
“This was the first time I had won [a championship],” Mierow said. “It was awesome. All the hard work finally paid off.”
Mierow then earned second team All-America honors by tying for seventh on the uneven parallel bars with a score of 9.575 at the NGCA Individual finals the following day.
She says that by being the youngest in a family of athletes, she had a distinct advantage.
“We support each other a lot,” Mierow said. “I always looked up to them for their hard work and their sports. I just tried to follow in
their footsteps.”
Now with either a national championship or performance at a national championship game from each of his children, Jeff and Cathy Mierow have a Warhawks dynasty on their hands.
Kate is already looking forward to next gymnastics season where she has a chance to be the Mierow family’s only two-time national champ.
“[I want] to continue the hard work in the gym,” Mierow said. “Hopefully we come back next year really strong.”