Bak takes 12th at Nationals


by Kim Kurimski

Senior Kinsey Bak, took her last leap in the NCAA Division III Indoor Track and Field Championship March 9, finishing 12th in the high jump.

Bak began participating in the high jump when she was in junior high. Her basketball coach asked if she had ever thought about doing track and field. It was then she decided to go out for track.

She remembers doing run-throughs for track in junior high and being one of the two girls able to make it into the sand.

Later, while Bak was practicing the long jump, her track and field coach suggested she try the high jump. Since then, Bak has been named All-Conference and All-American at Simpson College.

Bak’s sixth journey to Nationals began at a preseason meet in Ames.

“It first started out when we went to Iowa State and I jumped pretty well there,” Bak said.

Bak later jumped at a meet in Grinnell and cleared 5’6”.

“That was the last height to get in,” Bak said. “Some girls that jumped 5’6” didn’t even make it in.”

If Bak hadn’t jumped 5’6” at the Grinnell meet she wouldn’t have made it to Nationals.

Bak participated with 14 of the best Division III high jumpers in the nation.

Normally, Nationals is hosted in another state, but this year Grinnell hosted the event since it had just built its new track facility.

“It kind of took away from the experience because I just woke up in my apartment and drove to Grinnell,” Bak said.

Nationals took place at the end of spring break, so Bak had to end her break early to prepare for the event.

Prior to leaving for Grinnell, everyone wished her good luck.

“For spring break we went to Florida as a team,” Bak said. “I flew back a day early to get myself prepared and ready to jump.”

Bak was accompanied to nationals by three of her track and field coaches: Dave Cleveland, Ben Robison and Hemie Collier.

Heath Moenck, assistant track and field coach, accompanied her to the athlete and coaches banquet the night before she jumped.

Usually, the bar is started at 5’1” or 5’2” at Nationals. This year the bar started at 5’3”, which is pretty high to begin with, Bak said.

Bak was able to clear 5’3” on her last attempt, but was unable to clear the next bar.

“It was kind of disappointing, but I’ve never had this much support throughout my track (career),” Bak said.

Junior track runner Jade Osborne said she looks up to Bak as a teammate.

“She is an extremely hard worker and a great teammate,” Osborne said.

Overall, Bak is glad that she was able to have the chance to appear at the NCAA Division III Indoor Track and Field Championship for her third time at Simpson College.

“I didn’t jump as well as I wanted,” Bak said. “It was probably one of the worst I’ve ever jumped, but at least I had the experience.”

John Sirianni, Simpson College athletic director, is proud of Bak’s track and field performance throughout her time at Simpson College.

“Kinsey has been an outstanding student athlete and leader for our track and field team throughout her career at Simpson College,” Sirianni said. “We are very proud of her achievements and wish her the best throughout the 2012 outdoor season.”

Bak also looks forward to the outdoor season. She hopes to attend the outdoor Nationals, which take place in California in May.