CHARLESTON – Danielle Neisendorf is in a pretty good position heading into today’s Class 2A state high jump final.
The Genoa-Kingston senior, making her fourth appearance in the 2A state meet, only needs to make her opening jump to earn a medal.
Neisendorf cleared 5 feet, 2 inches in Friday’s preliminaries, one of nine athletes to hit the mark. If she makes her opening jump this afternoon – G-K coach Barry Schmidt expects it to be 4-10, Neisendorf will earn the second state medal of her career because only nine athletes are competing and all have the opportunity to medal. She jumped 5-2 last season, good for seventh place.
It won’t take much for Neisendorf to make the stand, but she’s not taking it for granted.
“Anything can happen. You can’t just assume you’ll be able to jump,” Neisendorf said. “... There’s a pretty good chance, but you never know what could happen.”
By now, Neisendorf is used to the experience O’Brien Field provides at state. She did not jump her best in the prelims – she missed at 5 feet and missed 5-2 twice – but Schmidt said the experience can help someone such as Neisendorf even if she isn’t at her best.
“She made some adjustments. Sometimes with jumpers, they don’t have it some days, and it seemed like that was it for her today,” Schmidt said. “But she was able to get through, I think, because of experience. She’s been in this situation before, being a senior. Just, all year she’s been consistently able to get 5-2, and I think she’s really able to draw on that experience and make that last jump at 5-2.”
Neisendorf should get a medal, but she wants more, setting a goal of 5-6. Her personal best is 5-5.
“I would really like to enter the top five,” Neisendorf said. “This year I’ve been more consistent at 5-4. I really want 5-6.”
Neisendorf was one of two Cogs athletes in Charleston. Teammate Brianna Kramer took 21st in the 300 hurdles at 48.29 seconds, but failed to qualify for the finals.
DeKalb senior Jasmine Brown didn’t reach her goal of 40 feet in the triple jump. However, Brown certainly had nothing to feel bad about, saying she felt “great” after hitting a personal-best mark of 39-113/4.
Brown’s mark was the best among Class 3A participants.
“I just woke up this morning and had a little more pep in my step,” she said. “Knew it was going to be good.”
Brown also had a mark of 18-61/2 in the long jump, the second-best mark in 3A behind West Aurora’s Emma Spagnola (18-91/4).
Today could be a special day for the senior.
“I want to win it in triple and place in long jump,” she said.
Elsewhere in Class 2A, Sycamore competed in two events but didn’t get anyone through. Lilia Edwards was 25th in the triple jump at 33-71/2, while the Spartans’ 4x100 relay of Briana Iwans, Hanna Gross, Christina Dailey and Lauren Goff was 20th at 50.46.
Kaneland had three finalists. Lauren Zick took 11th in the long jump (16-111/4), while Christina Delach took 11th in the pole vault (10 feet). The Knights’ 4x800 relay of Amanda Lesak, Aislinn Lodwig, Jessica Kucera and Sydney Strang was ninth at 9:39.47.