East junior qualifies for regional meet in five events (video)
April 23, 2013 at 11 p.m.
Updated April 22, 2013 at 11:23 p.m.
Kasey Heitzmann made four trips to the medal stand at Saturday's Districts 29/30-4A area track and field meet in Floresville before joining her Victoria East teammates for a fifth.
The Lady Titans jumped off the podium in unison to celebrate winning the team championship, and Heitzmann did more than her share to help them get there.
The junior won two gold, one silver and one bronze medal, scored 34 of East's 120 points and qualified for the Region IV-4A meet in five events.
"I guess I've just been working really hard," Heitzmann said. "I've got good teammates who push me, and I've got great coaches who help me out."
Heitzmann has dedicated herself to become a more versatile athlete since moving to Victoria from Illinois shortly before track and field season last year.
She qualified for last year's regional meet in the 100-meter hurdles, but was determined to compete in more events.
"I think she's just gaining confidence in herself this year," said Victoria East head coach Jenni Pinson. "She wanted to branch out do some different field events this year, helping us to get more points."
Heitzmann finished first in the 100-meter hurdles and pole vault, ran a leg on the 1,600-meter relay team that finished second, was third in the 300-meter hurdles and fourth in the triple jump at the area meet.
"Kasey's the type of athlete who competes no matter what, and she gives it her all in every event," Pinson said. "She has the heart for it."
Heitzmann also has the strength and stamina to be fresh enough to perform at a high level in every event.
"It's kind of hard sometimes like at the end of the meet when I don't want to run the mile relay," she said. "Most of the time it's fun. I get plenty of rest in between and drink a lot of water and stuff."
Heitzmann prepares for meets by spending time at every practice on each of her events.
"Unfortunately, she's in the events that take the longest to practice," Pinson said. "I just love this girl because she never complains."
Heitzmann works with Pinson on the relays and triple jump, with John Grammer on the hurdles, and with Bill Williams on the pole vault.
"I'm usually the last one there," Heitzmann said. "It's hard, but it's fun."
Heitzmann also enjoyed playing basketball for the first time last season.
She came off the bench and averaged just over three points per game, but has seen the benefits during the track and field season.
"I think it helped me get in shape," she said. "I think it helped me get to know a lot of my teammates better because they do track too."
The hurdles had been Heitzmann's strongest event, but she's come on lately in the pole vault, clearing 10 feet for the first time at the area meet.
"I just picked it up this year," she said. "It's something new and it's fun to meet other pole vaulters from other teams."
Heitzmann will face her toughest competition to date at the regional meet, which is scheduled for Friday and Saturday at Heroes Stadium in San Antonio.
"I think I'll go into it a lot less scared and just more prepared for the competition," she said. "I'm just going to work hard and do my best and whatever that gets me, it gets me."
• St. Joseph will compete in the TAPPS District 3-4A meet on Friday and Saturday at San Antonio Christian. The top four finishers in each event qualify for the TAPPS South Regional meet at Houston Awty International on May 3-4.