Former gymnast wins big with ‘new’ vault

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For people who know Abeni “Abby” Kratzmeyer it’s no surprise that she’s become a success story in almost every aspect of her life.

She’s a 15-year-old freshman at Mineola High School who’s been involved in a myriad of extracurricular activities throughout her life. She’s competed in gymnastics, dance, tap dance, and ballet. Not to mention she’s a straight-A student and in the words of her mother is a complete nerd when it comes to her school work.

However just over a year ago Kratzmeyer decided she wanted to try a different type of competition.

“When I was in middle school I saw Reagan Fisher compete in pole vault and that made me want to try that event in track,” Kratzmeyer said Friday.

It turns out that Kratzmeyer was a natural pole vaulter as she quickly progressed with her technique and skills in the event. After training with pole vaulting skills coach Tory Cunningham in Winnsboro last summer, Kratzmeyer broke the 11’ pole vault school record at her first individual meet last November. She began regularly competing in indoor track meets in the fall to continue to improve her skills.

When asked if her gymnastics background helped her in pole vaulting Kratzmeyer said absolutely “I know a lot of people who try it (pole vaulting) have this fear of heights which kind of holds them back from fully committing during their vault. But for me I got over that fear at an early age when I did gymnastics,” Kratzmeyer said.

Kratzmeyer was born in Tyler, before being adopted when she was a week old by her parents Sonya and Jerad Kratzmeyer. She also has an adopted younger brother and sister, as well as an older brother.

Mineola Track Coach Bill Self, who has worked with most of the girls track athletes, has been very complimentary of Kratzmeyer’s work ethic, her positive mindset and her ability to focus on the details of her technique when needing to make corrections. Self regularly could be seen spending hours after school with Kratzmeyer and other athletes in the weight room and devoting extra time helping the team.

“Coach Self has been a big help to me this year, he’s more of a positive reinforcement coach and knows how to joke around with the team to keep up relaxed during practice and meets,” Kratzmeyer said.

After qualifying for the 3A state championship, Kratzmeyer said her main goal was to vault her personal best and to get at least a bronze medal. Initially, Kratzmeyer didn’t think she would win the event but after clearing her first vault she said she felt more comfortable and just began to focus more on herself and not on the competition.

Kratzmeyer ended the event setting her personal best vault of 11’ 9”. However she plans to continue to improve through the summer and fall.

“Next year I want to vault 13’ (state 3A record) and earn an invite to Texas relays, where I’ll get to compete with all the best pole vaulters in the state,” Kraztmeyer said.

The Clyde Littlefield Texas Relays are a state-wide invitational track meet where the best compete against the best regardless of school conference or division. If Kratzmeyer qualifies next year she will have an opportunity to become the undisputed best in her event in Texas. She will need to vault at least 12’ to earn an invite.

Kratzmeyer hopes to use her pole vaulting talent to earn a track scholarship and after she’s done with athletics she plans to become a pediatrician. Currently Kratzmeyer has over a 4.0 grade-point average.

“It’s been really cool to receive so much support and congratulations from everyone for winning state,” Kratzmeyer.com

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