Three years ago, Danielle Neisendorf was the inexperienced freshman at the Class 1A state meet.
Qualifying in the high jump, Neisendorf made the trip with four upperclassmen, taking in the atmosphere in Charleston and learning from her veteran teammates.
After two additional state appearances as a sophomore and junior, Neisendorf now is looking to become the first girl in school history to advance to the state meet four times and is one of the leaders of a G-K team that’s moved up to 2A.
“Even at just regular meets, a lot of people ask me questions about high jump and you just come to expect what happens at every meet,” Neisendorf said. “You get to know the people from each team who run it and the different girls who you jump with.”
Neisendorf’s annual journey to high school track’s final weekend has been anything but ordinary. As a freshman, she came down with a bout of food poisoning the night before the prelims and failed to make the finals. More adversity came as a sophomore.
“I qualified in pole vault and high jump and I had just done high jump preliminaries, made finals and went to vault and I tore [my left quad],” Neisendorf said. “I couldn’t do finals the next day. Ever since then I’ve had problems with it.”
Fighting through injuries, Neisendorf managed a seventh-place finish in the high jump last season, saying her legs were wrapped with kinesio tape as she finished with a mark of 5 feet, 2 inches, three inches shy of her career best.
In her final year, Neisendorf will split her time between multiple events, adding a couple of sprints to her high jump and pole vaulting duties.
“It is really nice to do that, put her in different things,” G-K coach Barry Schmidt said. “She scores really high when that quad’s able to hold up.”
Everything seems to hinge on Neisendorf’s quad. Over the summer season she managed to stay healthy and posted a mark of 10-6 in the pole vault, well past the state qualifying mark of 9-9. She goes to therapy twice a week and constantly is monitoring how her leg is holding up.
Neisendorf hopes to finally go through a season healthy and without adversity. If it happens, several milestones might be up for grabs.
“For pole vault, I’d like to break the school record, which is 9-9,” Neisendorf said. “I’d really like to get that as well as get 5-6 for high jump, and I’m really close to the 400 record for the school, as well. Hopefully all three are my goals for the season, but we’ll see.”