Giltner’s Hannah Preissler had a lot to vault for this season.
The senior was going for her fourth straight Class D girls pole vault state championship. Her personal-best of 12 feet was just 3 inches off the Class D state record set by Preissler’s future teammate at Nebraska, Catherine Mick of BDS, in 2015.
But it was more than just individual gold that was driving Preissler this spring. Giltner came in as the five-time defending Class D girls state track and field champion, and with eight seniors on the roster, Preissler thought title No. 6 was a real possibility.
“I think we were all pretty confident that we could get it done,” Preissler said. “That’s why not having a season is so hard for us, knowing what we could’ve potentially done.”
Preissler took seventh at state last season in the 100-meter high hurdles, qualified for state in the 300 lows and was one of three seniors back on a 1,600 relay team that was fifth, joining Cortney Hoelck and Sydney Janzen.
Janzen was fourth in the 200 at state a year ago and fifth in both the 100 and 400. Junior Sydni Watson is back after running on a 400 relay that placed second.
Preissler is one of the few fortunate pole vaulters across the country still getting an opportunity to work on her craft. Her family bought a pole vault pit from Papillion a while back, and a local track club in Aurora stores its raised runway in one of the buildings on the Preissler family farm.
“I can still jump every once in a while,” said Preissler, whose father, Dan, helps coach her. “I haven’t been jumping over bars, just bungees (bungee cords), but I definitely thought I could’ve gotten 13 (feet) this season. In the early track practices, it felt like once the season got going, I’d take off right away hitting the heights I did at the end of last season.”
— Ron Powell