Nicole Summersett steadily sets the bar higher and higher.
The sophomore pole vaulter was just a tiebreaker away from medaling at the UIL Track and Field State Championships Saturday, tying for third place with a vault of 13 feet.
Her height at state set the school record – again – and marked Summersett’s personal-best jump in any competition. In fact, that height was good enough to place fifth at two collegiate meets – at both the SEC and the Big 12 championships.
Summersett, who was making her second state trip in two years at Westlake, wound up fifth in the Class 5A pole vault by virtue of having more misses than the other two competitors. It was the first time in UIL track history that an athlete made 13 feet and did not medal, and Summersett said the competition is only getting more intense.
“I’m pretty happy because I just jumped 13, and that was the height I wanted to hit,” Summersett said. “It was an amazing experience competing with nation’s best pole vaulters. And the competition at this state meet was a lot more intense, at a higher level [than last year].”
Having her jumping height as only a sophomore has caught the attention of colleges around the country, and after the meet Summersett realized that 13 feet was as good as collegiate athletes a bit older than her.
“I had heard that – that’s just mind blowing to me that I could place at some of those meets,” she said. “At this stage of vaulting, I lose sight of what a good height is because I’m competing with such good girls that are pushing me. That’s really cool to see that I can be that great in college, too.”
Last season,, Summersett went into the state meet a bit more timid as a freshman, not to mention she was dealing with a nagging knee injury that kept her from reaching peak height at state.
This season, she scaled things back to ensure she was healthy.
“I was better prepared this year,” she said. “Last year had that injury with my knee. I was more careful with it this year … It helped just to have the experience from freshman year. It made me be a little less nervous. I was no longer the new freshman that has to prove something; I could just focus on doing my best and see what happened.”
Junior Desiree Freier of Northwest took first with a 13-9 showing, and senior Annie Rhodes was second with a jump of 13-6.
Junior Sara Kathryn Stevens of New Braunfels and Grapevine sophomore Zoe McKinley, along with Summersett, all jumped 13-even.
Summersett said there is a kinship between the best pole vaulters because of club and summer competition, along with seeing each other at the big high school meets.
Though she has two more cracks at making state and earning a medal, Summersett knows the competition is getting stronger each year in pole vault.
With that in mind, she wants to clear 13-6 before the end of the summer and focus on hitting 14-feet, at least, next season. She has cleared 13-1 in practice before.
“I hope I have two more years ahead of me to look forward to,” she said. “I want to jump 13-6 this summer and, hopefully, set me up to jump 14-0. We all have great coaches with that, and each year, they push us harder and harder. It’s definitely gonna be harder, but it helps having some of those girls graduate. It’s more of a personal competition next year when I get up to higher heights; each inch is gonna mean a lot to me. That’s what I’m gonna focus on.”
Summersett should be back next year to contend for a spot on the medal stand, and she hopes to have even more teammates with her. Corinne Grandcolas made the state meet in long jump, and numerous members of the Westlake track team were on hand Saturday to root them on.
“I’m pretty proud of Corinne of making the state meet, too, and my whole team had a great season,” she said. “We warmed up together; it was not that much time together but compared to last year – I was the only one on the track – it helped to have another teammate there encouraging me.”
As for returning next season, she said, “We’re planning on it.”
“I had heard that – that’s just mind blowing to me that I could place at some of those meets.”-Sophomore pole vaulter Nicole Summersett on her state height being good enough for some collegiate meets