FRIEND — Catherine Mick’s track season began in earnest Wednesday when BDS competed in the 11-team Meridian Invitational at Friend.
And the senior seemed to pick up where she left off last spring, when she won three Class D gold medals at the state meet and the all-class gold in the pole vault, where she cleared a Class D state-record 12 feet, 3 inches and moved into sixth on the all-time chart.
In extremely windy conditions, the Nebraska recruit took home four gold medals in her first open meet of the season. Mick swept the hurdle events she won at state last season with a 15.7-second time in the 100-meter highs and a :49.2 in the 300 lows, nearly four seconds slower than her winning time of :45.39 at state a year ago.
Mick also won the 400 in perhaps the only instance she’ll run the event this season, fighting through the wind for a 1:05.6 clocking. The energy expended in that race probably affected her pole vault, as the three-time defending Class D state champion cleared 10 feet, 6 inches, 1 inch below the meet record established by her older sister, Cynthia, in 2011.
“For my first full meet of the season, I’m just happy to get through it,” Mick said. “My vault and my times weren’t the best, but it’s a place to start.”
After running the 400, “I was pretty tired, and without a chance to do any run-throughs (in the pole vault), I decided to go with my short-run (approach) instead of the long run,” Mick said.
“The 400 isn’t my favorite, but it gives me a good workout, makes me stronger in the 300s (hurdles) and will help me in the long run,” she added.
She thought she was attempting 10-8 on the her final height, only to have it measured following her first two misses and finding out the bar was set at 11-3. It was reset to 10-8 for her final attempt.
The strong side wind from the north was stifled a bit from a row of evergreen trees, “but it was still a factor,” Mick said. “Right now, I’m getting my run consistent and building my technique so I can hit my goals later in the season.”
Her ultimate objective is to break the state record of 13-3 set by Jenny Green of Grand Island Central Catholic 13 years ago. “But if I can just better myself (from 12-3) I’ll be happy,” Mick said.
Mick was an all-state volleyball player last fall and one of the Eagles’ best players on a Class D-1 state tournament team in basketball. That athleticism and her state championship ability in the hurdles have the Huskers looking at Mick as a potential multi-event competitor instead of focusing exclusively on the vault.
“I enjoy doing different events in high school, so it would be fun to try it in college,” said Mick, who ran a :14.9 in the 100 hurdles last season.
A more immediate concern, however, is extending the family streak of girls pole vault gold medals at state. The Mick family has won the Class D girls pole vault six straight years — the last three by Catherine and the 2010, ’11 and ’12 crowns by Cynthia, now a senior at Concordia.
“There’s definitely pressure to make it seven straight,” Catherine said.