By Rich Palzewic
GENEVA, Ohio – Lindsey Mirkes, a 2017 De Pere High School graduate, can now call herself a Big East Conference outdoor high jump champion.
With a personal-best jump of 1.8 meters (5 feet, 11.75 inches), Mirkes, a recent Marquette University graduate, won the conference title May 15 in Geneva, Ohio.
“I was much calmer and more focused this year,” Mirkes said. “It was the best jump I’ve ever had. I went clean over the bar.”
Mirkes recorded her winning jump on her first attempt.
“It was me and one other competitor,” she said. “She missed her first jump at 1.8 but eventually made it. The bar was moved up to 1.85, and we both missed our chances at that height. I won based on fewer misses.”
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic wiping out Mirkes’ junior year, she’s eligible for another year to compete athletically.
Mirkes said she mostly kept her focus during the pandemic, but it was hard to go without the facilities and competition at Marquette.
“I thought it would only be two weeks of pause when the announcement was made we had to stop,” she said. “It was still a priority for me to train, but it was difficult. My routine became different, and I had to be more creative with my workouts.”
Despite the layoff, Mirkes said she wasn’t totally surprised with her meet-winning jump.
“I had my personal record by almost 4 centimeters (1.57 inches), so in that aspect, I was surprised, but I knew I had it in me,” she said. “Jumping 1.8 always seemed daunting to me, but I did it. It was a huge accomplishment.”
Because she’s coming back for another year, Mirkes said the 1.85 mark is reachable.
“I never thought I’d get to that point,” she said. “I’ve never seen the bar that high, so the fact I’m getting close to that is exciting. I’ll be training during the summer in Milwaukee for the first time and will have access to the facilities at Marquette consistently. I’ve never jumped over the summer before, so I’m hoping to at least maintain what I have going into next season.”
She said increasing a mark by 4 centimeters is a lot to ask.
“Wow,” Mirkes said. “It’s more difficult than a person can imagine. The high jump is a technical sport, and everything has to come together at the right time to get a good height. Gaining centimeters or inches is huge.”
Mirkes advanced to the NCAA Division I regional meet at Texas A & M two weeks later and had a solid showing.
“I ended up 19th at the regional meet,” she said. “I jumped the height that made it to nationals, but I didn’t advance due to misses. I jumped my second-best all-time, so I can’t complain about how I did. It just stings a bit – the national meet was right there. This regional had great competition, so it was tougher to advance.”
Lindsey is the daughter of Jeff and Jackie Mirkes and is pursuing a master’s degree in exercise and rehabilitation science.