Madison Schmidt was a “head case.”

Her words.

The Riverview High pole vaulter was intimidated by the pressure of track and field meets.

But now, she is using that anxiety as inspiration.

“I worked on it. It doesn’t get to me anymore,” Schmidt said. “I’m using it to my advantage to get my adrenaline going.”

Madison Schmidt of Riverview competes in the pole vault Thursday at the Lady Tarpon Invitational at Charlotte High. Schmidt won the event. STAFF PHOTO / DENNIS MAFFEZZOLI

Unable to practice this past week because of a sore back, Schmidt still made it 3-for-3 in meets this season in the pole vault. She cleared 10 feet, her starting height, Thursday at the Lady Tarpon Invitational at Charlotte High.

Schmidt recorded eight meet victories a year ago.

“I came in high to hopefully clear it and go from there,” she said.

Thursday’s mark was well off her personal best of 11-6 set last week at the Ram Invitational on her school’s track at Riverview High.

Schmidt also won the season-opener with an 11-3 at the North Port Relays.

Starting a season quickly never has been a problem for Schmidt.

But finishing has.

She often starts out well, recording a personal best early, and then tail off by the end of the season.

“This year, I’m working on being consistent throughout the season,” the senior said.

Showing she has taken the sport seriously, Schmidt worked during the summer with Rams spring coach Paul Williams, who also coaches some professionals.

“A lot of working on my running that has helped me,” she said.

She also has plenty of motivation, even when the competition is not strong.

Currently planning to walk on at Florida State, Schmidt would like to reach the magic number of 12 feet.

“That’s when you start getting some money,” she said. “I’m hoping to get a scholarship. I’m hoping to get 12. That’s what I’m hoping for.”

Coming into the meet, Schmidt owned the third highest vault in the state behind Lake Mary junior Erica Sergeant (12-6) and Olympia (Orlando) freshman Summer Schafers (11-9).

Schmidt has not reached the FHSAA Florida Finals in her first three years of vaulting. After finishing eighth in her freshman and sophomore seasons, she was fifth with a 9-6 in the regionals a year ago, one place from qualifying. “I’m really happy with my season so far,” she said. “Nothing out of the ordinary, but I’m really happy it’s happening.”

Lakewood Ranch senior Kristin Zarrella set a school record in the 400-meter run at Thursday’s meet running 59.61 seconds in the preliminaries and matched it in the final.

Other area winners include Port Charlotte’s Michelle Atherly (high jump with a leap of 5-2 and 300 hurdles in 46.97) and Charlotte’s Jenny D’Alessandro (118-9 in discus).

Naples won the team title with 73 points. Estero finished second with 56, just ahead of third-place Fort Myers (54.5).

Charlotte High will hold the Tarpon Invitational on March 23, a Saturday this season because of the large number of teams expected to attend.


Schmidt Vaulter Magazine
Schmidt Vaulter Magazine

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