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FC’S Zeinemann 2nd in pole vault

Girls’ State Track and Field Finals
FC’S Zeinemann 2nd in pole vault
FC’S Zeinemann 2nd in pole vault
Floyd Central junior Annalise Zeinemann flies over the bar at 12 feet, 6 inches for second place at the Indiana girls’ state track finals at Ben Davis High School Saturday. The height was also a new school record. Photo by Wade Bell
By Wade Bell, Sports Writer

Floyd Central junior pole vaulter Annalise Zeinemann started the season well behind teammate Reece Davis when the 2021 track season began. Davis was vaulting nearly a foot higher than Zeinemann, who was still getting use to the much longer poles the school had recently purchased.

“I had a rough beginning,” Zeinemann said of the early spring vaults. “I would run through a meet, and I wasn’t in the mindset. I was at a four-step for three-fourths of my season, and I finally started working my way back. Today was my first day getting on big poles and pulling out of my head.”

As the season progressed, both Zeinemann and Davis got more confident and began flying higher. The pair went 1-2 at the Corydon Central sectional, Davis getting the win at 12 feet, and again at the Evansville Central regional, where both cleared 11 feet, 6 inches with Zeinemann getting the win on misses.

On Saturday at the Indiana girls’ state track and field championships at Ben Davis High School, Zeinemann put herself in another level, vaulting to a second-place finish with a new school record of 12 feet, 6 inches.

“Overwhelmed, but I did try to calm myself down and told myself to breathe,” Zeinemann said after the event. “I just kind of managed my way through it.”

Zeinemann had a cluster of misses at the early heights but then jumped clean at both 11 feet, 9 inches and 12 feet.

“At 11-6, I was getting excited because I knew my freshman year people at 11-6 were getting All-State,” said the Floyd Central junior. “I came in with the mindset I wanted All-State. Once I got to 11-6, I felt like I could finally breathe and just keep going and do what I know how to do. I started going for PRs, 11-9, 12-0, they were all PRs, so it was pretty exciting just knowing my next bar was going to be my PR.”

Zeinemann missed on her first attempt at 12-3 but had a clean jump on her second attempt to tie the school record held by Rachael Kavgazoff. With five vaulters still left in the event, the bar was moved to 12 feet, 6 inches. Three of those vaulters went out at that height.

Zeinemann missed on her first attempt but had a perfect vault on her second, leaving just her and Center Grove’s Taylor Jarosinski in the competition. The bar then went to 12-9, where Zeinemann missed on all three attempts. Jarosinski was clean on her first attempt and went on to clear 13 feet for the win.

“I definitely want to work on it more and get stronger and faster,” said Zeinemann. “I’m feeling more confident and more comfortable. My teammate and I are doing really good, and we have a long time to go. During the season, I just focused on my meets and watching (Davis) and watching her on the bigger poles. That kind of motivated me.”

Davis didn’t fare as well in the event, finishing in the 10th-place position, just off of the podium, her best vault at 11 feet, 9 inches.

“I was just trying to figure out what to do with my poles,” said the disappointed Floyd Central junior. “I just didn’t jump the best I could have been. I just need to work on getting inverted better because that’s my struggle spot. It will just motivate me more. I’m going to work all summer to get better.”

In other field events, Paoli’s Kyrste Fehribach finished 11th in the high jump at 5 feet, 5 inches. In the long jump, Eastern’s (Pekin) Mckenna Jeter finished 14th with a jump of 17 feet, 6-3/4 inches and New Albany’s Elise Gordon was 19th at 17-3-1/2. In the shot put, Floyd Central’s Bella Barney finished 16th with a distance of 38 feet, 2-3/4 inches, and Charlestown’s Lanae Crowe made the podium in the discus with a distance of 130 feet, 11 inches for sixth place.

In the first running event, the Floyd Central Lady Highlanders’ 3,200-meter relay scored the school’s first points of the day with a ninth-place finish. Kaitlyn Stewart, Sydney Baxter, Savanna Liddle and Payton Hall covered the distance in 9 minutes, 30.47 seconds to take home the hardware.

In the 100-meter dash, Charlestown’s Lyric Steele was 13th in 12.51 and Eastern’s Jeter was 21st in 12.89. New Albany’s Cayla Frierson finished 22nd in 12.90 but came back to podium in the 200-meter dash, finishing eighth in 25.53.

In the 1,600-meter run, Floyd Central junior Jaydon Cirincione had to battle through every inch of the race. Ten runners, including Cirincione, broke away from the full field of 27 runners on the first lap. At the beginning of the second lap, the Floyd Central junior was bumped by Evansville Memorial’s Jacqueline Brasseale going into the first turn as the group of 10 broke into two groups of five.

“When you’re in a race, especially for me, you just kind of act on instinct,” Cirincione said. “So if someone pushes you, push back. If someone comes back to you, you move around them. There was a lot of pushing and shoving and tripping in the race. It just came with the competition, so you just kind of have to push through it and try not to see it as an obstacle and try your best to move past it and keep going.”

The Floyd Central junior was also having to deal with a shoe malfunction.

“The heel of my shoe came off at the 200 mark, so I had it half off the entire race,” she said. “Then it came off in the last 200, so I really didn’t have any kick left in me.”

Cirincione used the bump to get more aggressive on the run. The downside was the other nine runners were also getting aggressive vying for those top nine podium spots. In the end, Cirincione went on to finish 10th in 5 minutes, 3.75 seconds, a new school record but short of a podium spot.

“I tried to get back to where I was or even ahead of what I ended up being before the bump,” Cirincione said. “You just have to use every turn straight to your advantage in some way. I did what I could in that straight and just kept going.”

“It’s really good,” she said of her time. “There’s a lot of really good competition, and everyone did really well. It’s just exciting for all of us to have such a good race under your belt even if you’re a little disappointed in it. I’ll be disappointed, but I’ll come back next year and work harder at it.”

Also in the 1,600 meters, Providence’s Maci Hoskins finished 26th in 5:24.47. In the 800-meter run, Floyd Central’s Savanna Liddle finished 25th in 2:25.51 and teammate Sydney Baxter was 27th at 2:28.10.

Floyd Central’s freshman Kaitlyn Stewart finished 24th in the 3,200-meter run, and Jasper’s Andi VanMeter was 26th in 11:57.55.

In the hurdles events, Forest Park’s Rachel Mehringer won the 100-meter hurdles while New Albany’s Elise Gordon finished 12th in 15.46 in a tie with Bloomington South’s Chloe Rolen. New Albany’s Journey Howard finished 17th in 15.61. In the 300-meter hurdles, Howard was 12th in 46.31 and Mehringer 21st in 47.88.

In the 400-meter relay, New Albany had a seventh-place podium finish in a time of 48.17 seconds. In the 1,600-meter relay, the Lady Bulldogs finished 19th in 4:05.85 and the Floyd Central team of Grace Suer, Emerson Elliott, Kylee Lewellen and Payton Hall finished 24th in 4:07.23.