AUSTIN — When Remy Guertel decided to switch sports, the Prosper sophomore still found a way to fly through the air with the greatest of ease.
“I was a gymnast until last year,” she said. “I stopped doing it and my friend was doing pole vault and my dad wanted me to give it a try.”
In a short amount of time — seven months — Guertel has gone from novice to one of the best in the state. She placed seventh in the event by clearing 11 feet, six inches at the Class 5A state track meet at Mike A. Myers Stadium on Friday afternoon, a long way from her humble beginnings.
“My goal was to get 9-6, 10 feet in a year,” said Guertel, whose first attempts in the sport saw her getting over the bar at seven feet, three inches. “My coaches thought I was capable of going far. I just got the hang of it pretty easily.”
Guertel needed all of her attempts at the opening height of 11 feet but then made her first try at 11 feet, six inches. That proved to be her stopping point, however, matching her qualifying height from the Class 5A Region II meet, and she missed out on sixth place on a tie-breaker against Livingston’s Montana Piper.
Nastassja Campbell of New Caney won the gold medal with a Class 5A record of 13 feet, nine inches to break the old mark by one inch and Victoria West’s Ryleigh Redding took the silver on a tie-breaker at 13 feet against Lovejoy’s Grace Ridgeway.
Seven of the nine athletes had qualified at 12 feet or better so Guertel knew that it would be a challenge to reach the podium. She has two more opportunities in the coming seasons and is ready to build on this experience.
“After warm-ups, I was just going to have fun and try to PR,” she said. “I was hoping to get 12 feet but I barely missed.”