Winning a district title, area title, or regional title are all exceptional accomplishments for any high school athlete, however Mineola High School’s Abeni Kratzmeyer surpassed all those by winning the state title in pole vault during Friday’s UIL State Track and Field Championships in Austin.
Her state title now marks the third state championship in the last two years for Mineola as the football team won state in 2016 and Mineola High School marching band won state in November.
One of the most impressive elements of Kratzmeyer’s rise to win the state championship is that she’s just a freshman and will have another three shots to win the title again and defend her crown.
Kratzmeyer was one of just two freshmen to qualify for the pole vault state final in 3A. She and fellow freshman Landry Topo of Lago Vista came in to the state finals tied for the second seed with their best vaults at 11’ 6”. The competition’s top seed was Maren Garnett of Spearman whose best vault was measured at 12’ 07”.
As the competition got underway Kratzmeyer had a very rocky start as she missed her first two vaults of the competition before clearing the initial round’s vault.
Mineola Track Coach Bill Self said he was impressed at how well Kratzmeyer responded after struggling initially.
“Abby (Abeni) showed great maturity and did not panic after her first two misses. She remained calm and cleared it on her third attempt. She vaulted much better after that, staying focused on her goal of vaulting her personal record and not worrying about her opponents,” Self said via text on Saturday.
After her first successful vault Kratzmeyer had a dominating performance as she set her own personal record while winning the title with her highest vault coming in at 11’ 9”. Finishing in second place was Garnett whose best vault was 11’ 6”.
One of the most ironic things about Kratzmeyer’s performance was that she didn’t know she’d won until the official announcement was made.
“She didn’t realize she had won until the event director announced the results. She said she tried to approach it as if it were just another meet. We are all extremely proud of her,” Self said.
Kratzmeyer will now look to improve on her performance in pole vault next year. The high school national record for girls pole vault was set in 2017 by Rachel Baxter of Anaheim Canyon High School in California. She vaulted 14’ 4”. The current Texas state record is 13’ 09” set in 2013 by Desiree Freier of Northwest High School.