For The Tribune
When Seymour’s Mikaela Grout shows up at a track meet, she knows she is going to be extremely busy that day.
This spring Grout will again compete in four events for the Owls: pole vault, long jump, 400-meter run and a lap in the 4×400 relay.
She holds the school record in the pole vault (9-6) and is a two-time regional qualifier in that event.
Grout set the school record at the Bloomington North Regional.
The senior said vaulters aren’t allowed to jump over a bar during warmups.
“We do pup ups and run throughs,” Grout said. “I use the warmups to see where I need to come in. If I’m having a bad day I’ll come in at 7-6 or 8-feet, and if I’m having a good day I’ll come in at 8 or 8-6.
“The wind is significant because if it’s behind you then it will speed up your steps and it will make you faster and your steps might be off. Cross wind will blow your pole one way or another, and it makes it hard to keep control of.”
Grout said the key to having a successful vault, “would be swinging fast, swinging your legs up to the tip of the pole really fast, and then turning. You’re facing backwards, so I would be looking over the runway when my legs are going up, and then I turn at the last second.
“You should land on your back. It’s a difficult sport where you can never get it right. There is something else you always have to work on. If you don’t have enough speed you won’t make it into the pit. So you want to have speed and lean forward on your run.”
Working on steps in practice in both the long jump and vault are keys for Grout.
She said she has to train hard to get her 400 time under 1:03, as she was a regional qualifier in that event last season
“It’s so painful,” Grout said. “I think it’s one of the most painful races because you’re sprinting the entire time. I like the (1,600-meter) relay a lot better than the 400. I usually run anchor.
“I like the relay because everyone has their own part in it, and not one person can win. It’s the whole team. Before we run we always pray and everyone is very encouraging to each other.”
“You have to stay really focused, especially in the 400. If you’re not focused, or you’re not in it, then your time will be a lot slower. I normally like lane 3 or 4.”
Grout began competing in track her seventh-grade year and cross-country in her eighth-grade season.
She started running cross-country to get in shape for track.
“Cross-country wasn’t necessarily my favorite because we had to run so far (3.1 miles),” Grout said. “I enjoy leisure running, but when it comes to pushing my pace, I’m not a big fan. I got a group together and we went to state to cheer on the varsity runners.”
Grout said her favorite place to run was Brown County, and her best time was 23:45 on the course.
Name: Mikaela Grout
Parents: Joy Grout, David Grout
Sports: cross-country 4 years, track 4 years
Athletic highlights: track: two-time sectional champions, most valuable performer 2015, top jumper award 2015, regional qualifier in pole vault (2 times) and 400, school record pole vault (9-6)
Organizations: National Honor Society, student government, Special Olympics, Renaissance, Sit and Knit Club
Plans after high school: attend Taylor University, run track, study business
Favorite food: Pasta
Favorite TV show: Fuller House
Favorite musician: Ben Rector
Favorite movie: Titanic
Q: Why do you enjoy track and field?
A: “I like the fact that everybody can do something. If you’re not athletic you can still come out. You’re not going to get cut from the team. Everyone has the ability to improve. I think track is very much a team sport, even though it is individual because everyone has to be there for you and make sure you show up to your events on time, and do your best.”
Q: Why is practice important?
A: “In practice I like to make sure everyone is doing the best they can because if they are not doing the best they can then they won’t compete as well. I think it’s important to be positive when you’re running. Even if you’re having a bad day try in everything because someone else will have a bad day and they will still be one up on you. Stay mentally tough and keep trying your hardest.”
Q: What are your goals this season for track?
A: “I hope to get at least get 10 feet in pole vault, if not 10-6, and place in the 400 in most of my meets. I would like to qualify for state in the pole vault. I don’t know if it’s necessarily realistic. It depends on how may girls graduated last year in our regional.”