Girls track

Kouts high jumper Zimmerle setting her sights higher

2012-04-16T22:00:00Z 2012-04-17T07:20:26Z Kouts high jumper Zimmerle setting her sights higherBy Jim Peters jim.peters@nwi.com, (219) 548-4363 nwitimes.com
April 16, 2012 10:00 pm  • 

When high jump coach Daryle Keller urges Allie Zimmerle to look above the bar, it isn't just a technical tip for the Kouts junior.

"Even metaphorically, that helps," Zimmerle said. "He tells me to set my sights higher."

For much of last season, that wasn't the case. Persuaded to try track by a gym teacher in middle school, Zimmerle developed into a competitive leaper, clearing 5 feet, but wasn't fully committed to the sport. She'd periodically skip workouts to go to academic team practices or tutoring.

"Grades before sports, always," said Zimmerle, who ranks third in her class with a 3.85 grade point average.

Then came last year's Porter County Conference meet, where Zimmerle cleared 5-2 for the first time.

"I had a lot of friends there and they said if I could've seen my face, they don't think I could've contained the excitement," she said. "After that, I realized, wow, I can do this, I can compete with these girls, if I put the effort in. As a freshman, I was a little scared. I would always stay in my comfort zone. I'm more confident (now). (That jump) made me want to work harder to try to get better."

The emotion carried over to this season as Zimmerle soared 5-4 in an indoor meet at Hanover Central. Once outdoors, she did it again, matching the school record previously shared by Melissa Sajdera (1995) and Lora Rommelman (1990).

"The biggest thing is maturity," Kouts coach Kevin Duzan said. "Freshmen and sophomores, they're still trying to figure a lot of things out. Allie's very bright and it carries over to track. She realizes now, hey, I've got something here.

"She decided she wants to do well and she understands what she needs to do. She has a goal to get to state and she can get there if she continues to dedicate herself and put in the time."

Technically, Zimmerle, who stands 5-11 3/4, has also changed her approach on jumps from a 'C'-shaped path to a 'J,' where she runs to a point and pivots into her leap.

"(School and track) go hand in hand," she said. "You have to be able to take constructive criticism. The coaches work really hard with me. I appreciate them. I'm basically our only girl jumper, so I jump with the boys, and they really help a lot."

Notable among them is coach Keller's son Stephen, who has cleared 6-8.

"The big thing is being able to get her legs worked out," coach Keller said. "With any jumper, you've got to get all your muscles stretched out properly."

Painful shin splints force the coaches to modify Zimmerle's workouts, but she trains in sprint and usually runs the 400 relay to ensure her conditioning is up to speed.

"If we had the luxury of not needing her to do something else, that would be great, but we have to spread our kids out," Duzan said. "She has the speed run to run a 100 or four by one. She could probably throw if she had to. She's willing to pitch in for the sake of the team."

When the meets matter the most, Zimmerle's attentions will be focused solely on the high jump, the school record and the trip to Bloomington.

"That's mainly what I'm working for," she said. "If I don't get to state, I at least want to get the record, for sure."

Copyright 2014 nwitimes.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Follow The Times

Fan Poll

Loading…

Which school has the area's best girls soccer team?

View Results

Follow your school

Duneland Conference

Chesterton Trojans
News
Crown Point Bulldogs
News
Lake Central Indians
News
LaPorte Slicers
News
Merrillville Pirates
News
Michigan City Wolves
News
Portage Indians
News
Valparaiso Vikings
News

Greater South Shore Conference

Bishop Noll Warriors
News
Calumet Warriors
News
Lake Station Eagles
News
Michigan City Marquette Blazers
News
North Newton Spartans
News
River Forest Ingots
News
Wheeler Bearcats
News
Whiting Oilers
News

Great Lakes Athletic Conference

Clark Pioneers
News
Gavit Gladiators
News
Hammond Wildcats
News
Morton Governors
News

Hoosier Conference

Rensselaer Bombers
News

Northwest Crossroads Conference

Andrean 59ers
News
Griffith Panthers
News
Highland Trojans
News
Hobart Brickies
News
Kankakee Valley Kougars
News
Lowell Red Devils
News
Munster Mustangs
News

Northwestern Conference

Lew Wallace Hornets
News
Roosevelt Panthers
News
West Side Cougars
News

Porter County Conference

Boone Grove Wolves
News
Hanover Central Wildcats
News
Hebron Hawks
News
Kouts Mustangs/Fillies
News
LaCrosse Tigers
News
Morgan Twp. Cherokees
News
South Central Satellites
News
Washington Twp. Senators
News
Westville Blackhawks
News

Independents

Bowman Academy Eagles
News
Calumet Christian
News
Campagna Academy
News
Covenant Christian Knights
News
E.C. Central Cardinals
News
Hammond Baptist Swordsman
News
Luther East Eagles
News

Chicago Catholic League

Mt. Carmel Caravan
News
Seton Academy Sting
News
St. Francis deSales Pioneers
News

Chicago Public League

Washington Minutemen/Minutewomen
News

East Suburban Catholic

Marian Catholic Spartans
News

Metro Suburban

Illiana Christian Vikings
News

River Valley Conference

Beecher Bobcats/Ladycats
News
Illinios Lutheran Chargers
News

South Suburban Blue

T.F. North Meteors
News
T.F. South Rebels
News

Southland Athletic Conference

Bloom Twp. Blazin' Trojans
News
Crete-Monee Warriors
News

SouthWest Suburban Blue

Homewood-Flossmoor Vikings
News

SouthWest Suburban Red

Thornridge Falcons
News
Thornton Wildcats
News
Thornwood Thunderbirds
News

Latest Local Offers

Featured Businesses