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High jumpers soar into nationals
By Lynn Bolt Rosendale
Kim Vanderzee (Shoreline, Wash.), Katie Bolt (Grand Rapids, Mich.), and Lauren Colyn (Battle Creek, Mich.)

The Calvin women high jumpers had a goal to finish one, two three at some meet, some time this year. Given that the threesome interchanged all of those spots among each other at meets during the year, the goal seemed attainable.

“I’m surprised we never got it,” said Kim Vanderzee, of Shoreline, Wash. “We would go one, two or two, three, but we never were able to all finish in the top three.”

Still having three high jumpers on the same team — Katie Bolt, Lauren Colyn and Vanderzee — who are among the league’s best is quite an achievement in itself. In fact, each of these jumpers has already posted a jump that is among the top eight in Calvin track history.

“It’s pretty rare to have three high jumpers that are that close,” said Bolt, a freshman from Grand Rapids, Mich. “We are always just inches apart or even tied. Being so close like that really helps in competition because if one of us makes it, the others know they can too.”

The camaraderie among the jumpers has certainly helped, said Vanderzee, who was Calvin’s lone high jumper as a freshman last year. “It’s been great training together,” she said. “We all go through the same struggles together; when one of us succeeds, it really works to lift us all up.”

In fact, the cohesiveness of the group produces better jumps, Vanderzee said. “We’re not competitive about places in the meet,” she said. “It’s more about height. When I’m thinking about what height I want to get, I also want them to get that height. And when they’ve made a height, I’m thinking about making it too, so we can keep on jumping together.”

Learning from each other at practice has also contributed to the trio’s success.

“I changed my technique this year, and it’s been kind of frustrating,” said Colyn, a freshman from Battle Creek, Mich. “It’s been good to be able to watch Katie and Kim this year though. Kim has excellent power and strength, and Katie has excellent technique.”

One, three, five was the placement at the MIAA championship, with Vanderzee (5’4”) defending her title, Bolt (5’2”) taking third and Colyn (5’2”) fifth.

During the season, Vanderzee (5’7”), Colyn (5’6”) and Bolt (5’5 ¾”) qualified provisionally and advanced to the NCAA III national championship. There Vanderzee and Bolt earned All-American honors, both clearing 5’5 ¾”. Vanderzee tied for second and Bolt tied for sixth (based on misses at the height). Colyn was 14th with a jump of 5’3 ¾”.

All of the jumpers admit that high jumping is a complicated art. “It is so detailed,” said Bolt. “The last three steps are the most important; you have to go fast, really pound it, get your head back, your hips and knees up, and you have to have the right rhythm. A good jump has a certain feel to it.”

And there’s a little luck involved too, said Vanderzee. “It’s almost impossible to get everything right in one jump. Some of my best jumps have been at 5’2” or 5’4”, when I would have cleared the bar if it had been set much higher. It just depends on how high the bar is when you have a jump that comes all together.”

The trio has plenty of time to work on that though, as they’ll all be back competing next year.

“The team dynamics here are awesome,” said Kim Vanderzee. “Being able to develop with teammates at the physical level for track and at the social level and spiritual level is really awesome. We are all united as a track team and in Christ, and we all have the same goal of letting our talents shine for God. Developing the kind of relationships — really supportive and caring relationships — through track is what God wants of us. It’s great to be a part of that.”