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Sports Spotlight: Natalie Janke – Girls Track and Field

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Natalie Janke is a senior track and field captain. Her specialty is in the field aspect. Pole Vault. Natalie has done gymnastics for years, and when she started her high school gymnastics career, some older teammates were telling the younger gymnasts that the skills from gymnastics help a lot with pole vault. Natalie decided to give it a try and it was a perfect match. “I enjoy the feeling of improvement the most when it comes to pole vault. Whether improvement is shown to me through a new PR, or simply a good practice, that is when my love for the sport truly shows. That feeling when you know you have accomplished something you have never done before is the most thrilling and motivating experience. Also flying up over 10 feet in the air is pretty cool!” Natalie laughed. You can also catch Natalie at all kinds of other sporting events singing the National Anthem!

This season, Natalie was most looking forward to working hard, and taking in her senior year. “I am very excited to work towards my goals. Now that I have been pole vaulting for quite some time, I know what I am capable of and what realistic goals are. Tackling those one at a time will be such a reward for me.” She explained that some team goals for this year were to simply better the team as a whole. “Our team has a wide range of talents, and if everyone improves at least a little, the goal has been met. There are so many new and talented freshman on plymouth girls track and field this year, so many of them had to learn new skills, techniques, and even entirely new events. This is an achievement in itself. Along with learning new things, everybody is in a race against themselves. Getting a new PR is the most obvious way of showing improvement, and everybody on the team works very hard for faster times, longer distances, and higher heights.”

PHS track and field is very competitive, so truly any event is entertaining. Pole vault is Natalie’s number one favorite thing to watch and participate in, but when she is not jumping, long jump, sprint relays, and cheering the distance runners on are the most fun to watch for her. The regional meet was this past Friday, May 19th. Plymouth girls placed third overall in their division, right in between Canton who received 2nd place, and Salem who received 3rd. Natalie qualified for the states competition in a couple of weeks. Go Cats!
“My pre-meet ritual is pretty standard. I make sure to get plenty of sleep the night before, and I hydrate really well throughout the day of the meet. Before I start to jump, I have a pre-meet playlist that I listen to while I stretch and warm up. I make sure to warm up extra carefully so I can get in the zone. PV is all about the mind. If you visualize yourself doing all of the right technique, and jumping higher heights, and you tell yourself you can, anything is possible. I always picture myself vaulting with perfection before I start to compete to boost my confidence.”

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