Soaring to new heights

Kratzmeyer repeats as pole vault champion


“I think about everything I have to do before I start…the run, the plant…I visualize it all. Once I start my run, I don’t really think about it. I block everything out and my body takes over.”

That’s how Abeni “Abby” Kratzmeyer describes the process of making a successful pole vault. The two-time Class 3A state pole vaulting champion continued: “You know from the plant if the vault will be a good one.”

She described the moment before freefall as “very exciting with plenty of adrenalin.”

Plenty of adrenalin and suspense accompanied the state pole vault final in Austin on May 10. After progressing from a starting height of 8 feet to 10’ 6”, Kratzmeyer missed on her first two attempts at 11 feet. Five other vaulters remained in the competition. The pressure was on.

“It was a stressful start, but I work well under pressure,” Kratzmeyer offered. She made her third attempt at 11 feet, her first attempt at 11’ 6” and passed at 11’ 9”.

With the last of the competition out at 11’ 9”, Kratzmeyer cleared 12’ and 12’ 6” on her first attempts. The state title now secure, she set her sights on a state record. It wasn’t to be; the state record held, at least until next year.

“My goal going in was to beat that record,” she explained, “It was disappointing, but I have two years to do it.”

The Mineola High School sophomore makes a habit out of commitment. She offered that diligence and patience are the two factors most important in her success.

“It takes a long time doing all the little things to get the desired results,” she offered.

Kratzmeyer credits her parents, Mineola alumni Sonya and Jered Kratzmeyer, for building those traits into her character. The supportive and disciplined upbringing instilled the value of both diligence and patience.

Other influences included early years in gymnastics class, where she learned not to fear tumbling or falling or heights. In addition to her Mineola track and field family and the community at large, Kratzmeyer mentioned the tremendous support of the Texas Vault team. All 10 of the East Texas vaulters who practice together several times a week travelled to Austin to support her.

Not limited to vaulting, Kratzmeyer also excels as a straight-A student, a cheerleader, a junior historian and a member of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes. She has set her sights on an advanced degree in the medical field, and intends to leverage her vaulting skills toward meeting that goal.

“That’s the plan,” she stated with certainty.