Lansing’s Gisler stands out at states

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On Saturday, March 7, Tompkins County was well-represented in Staten Island for the Indoor Track and Field New York State Championships. Top-10 finishes were achieved by several athletes, with one eclipsing the top-five of their event.

That one is Lansing’s Gwen Gisler, who won the state championship in pole vault during last year’s outdoor season and placed third at the event this year with a height of 11’6”. It was the highest finish across any event for a Tompkins athlete at the state championships.

Even with her experience winning the state championship as a junior, there were adjustments she had to make on the fly this time around.

“It was a little more stressful,” Gisler said. “We had a change in event time at the meet, so I had warmed up prior to the event three times. I was a little tired by the time I was actually competing. I had to wait for the guys to finish jumping then warm up again. I had to get fluids in me so I had energy by the time of the event. But it was fun to go with a larger group from my school, and the experience was good overall.”

Lansing was able to send an impressive total of six athletes to the state championships this season. Three had top-10 finishes, including Gisler.

Catalina Zaloj, who achieved the best high jump in the state at one point this season, placed 10th, and Kyle Reid was part of a Section IV relay team that placed 10th.

“We really appreciate our coaches and how they were able to get so many of us here,” Gisler said. “It’s really a testament to how well they coach.”

Joining Gisler at the state championships as a Lansing pole vaulter was Kiara Tornusciolo, who is just a sophomore. Tornusciolo placed 19th overall with a height of 10’0”. Having a teammate alongside her in the same event at the state championships could be reassuring, but it ended up creating a bit of a hectic situation for Gisler.

“It made it more stressful because we were in two different vaulting groups,” Gisler said, “I thought I was jumping, but it was actually her group that was jumping. So, I had to run around and try to find her. Luckily, she got to the event on time. It ended up being fine.”

With the transition to the outdoor season looming, Gisler noted the positives and negatives of both times of year.

“I like indoor because the weather is controlled and it’s easier to vault,” Gisler said. “There are no rainstorms or freezing days that can affect how I perform. But outdoor is nice because we have more time to practice pole vault itself. Outdoor is definitely iffy on whether you’ll get a good day to vault or not, though, which can be frustrating.”

Now with just one season left to go, Gisler has goals she’d still like to achieve with the Bobcats.

“I want to get my personal record and hopefully go to states again and do well there,” Gisler said. “I just want to enjoy the time with my coaches and teammates. I want a good season, no injuries or anything like that.”

A new personal record would require surpassing a height of 12 feet, 6 inches more than what she accomplished at the state championships this year. However, she’ll have plenty of time to get that mark, as she plans on continuing to pole vault in college (once she chooses a school to attend).

Outside of Gisler, there were several other local finishes worth noting. Jakob Greenwood of Dryden, whose season consisted of breaking the school record in both the 300 and 600m runs several times, placed ninth overall and broke the school record again in the 600m run with a time of 1:23.18. Greenwood was also selected as the sportsmanship representative for Section IV prior to the event.

Ithaca’s best finish came from Alexander Simpson in that same 600m run. He placed a few spots behind Greenwood at 15th overall with a time of 1:23.74.
Two pole vaulters from Trumansburg had strong performances. Rosie Morse placed ninth overall with a height of 10’6”. On the boys side, Quaylen Lamarre finished 11th with a height of 14’0”.

With just under three weeks to rest up, the outdoor track season will begin. For Groton, Dryden, Lansing and Trumansburg, the season will begin on March 30. Newfield and Ithaca begin on April 1.

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