By Mark Ambrogi
A gymnast while growing up, Taylor Jarosinski was encouraged by her seventh-grade teacher Alex Basham, who happened to be Center Grove high school’s pole vaulting coach.
“He brought his athletes to our gym to do gymnastics training, he saw me doing gymnastics,” Jarosinski said. “He was my tech ed teacher, so he would always say, ’Taylor, are you going to come vault for me in high school?’ I would always kind of brush it off. Then when I quit gymnastics, I thought why not.”
It proved to be a dynamite choice. Now a Center Grove senior, Jarosinski enters the season as one of the favorites to win the state title. She was second in the state as a sophomore with a vault of 12 feet, 9 inches, the school record. The 2020 track and field season was canceled because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Jarosinski, who is the Center Grove Icon Athlete of the Month, has a received a scholarship to continue her career at Indiana University.
“I’m incredibly eager to get started this year after so much time off and the way things ended at state my sophomore year where I was super grateful to get second, but felt like I had more in me,” Jarosinski said. “That’s made me hungry to get back, keep working and keep progressing. I can’t not wait to start competing for Center Grove and take advantage of us being able to compete and make my senior season a special one.”
During the quarantine in the spring of 2020, Jarosinski said she had time to work out on her own. She was able to work out with her club, DC Athletics, in the summer.
“That was a huge blessing because it kept my skills in tune,” she said. “I think I got a lot faster in the long offseason. I was able to implement that and was able to work a lot on technique because we had so much time because we weren’t competing. I was able to hone in on the little things.”
Jarosinski said DC Athletics finally had a few meets over the summer. She got a personal record on 13 feet in a small meet at Fort Wayne.
When she was eighth-grader, Kylie Falcone was a Trojans senior. Falcone was third in the state as a senior.
“She took me under her wing and she was having a breakthrough season, so to have her as a mentor my eighth grade year and watch her succeed was the push I needed,” Jarosinski said. “She encouraged me. She say, ’Taylor, this is going to be you in a few years. You have a lot of potential.’”
The faith Falcone and Basham had in Jarosinski was huge.
“They believed in me more than I believed in me, it was really motivating when I started,” she said.
Gymnasts tend to make good pole vaulters because of several factors.
“Gymnasts are faced with a lot of scary stuff we have to do,” she said. “We’re used to getting upside down. We’re are used performing under pressure. We used to have the body control that a lot of pole vaulters lack if they haven’t done gymnastics.”
Like most gymnasts, Jarosinski dealt with several injuries.
“I found out my foot had been fractured for like a month and I was just done (in eighth grade),” Jarosinski said. “I didn’t love it enough to push through all the injuries and recovering.”
Pole vaulting is truly her love.
“She puts her heart and soul into this and absolutely loves it,” said her mother, Kate Jarosinski.
Jarosinski said she loves the adrenaline rush of having three attempts at the bar to try to clear a personal record.
Basham said it has been fun to watch Jarosinski progress.
“She saw the work ethic of Kylie Falcone and Emily Maynard,” Basham said. “With her competitive spirit she wanted to jump right in, pun intended, and get things going and set the tone for herself as well.”
Basham said Jarosinski has worked hard in off-season.
“She has done a lot of drills to get herself and her muscles ready,” Basham said. “You could tell she has a fire in her with it being her senior year.”
Jarosinski is shooting to top the state meet record of 13 feet, 6 inches.
“One of my main goals is to be consistent, not even with a number but with my form,” she said. “I think making my form consistent is going to lead me to higher bars. I want to enjoy my year and not focus on the pressure of having a PR every meet. I want to take it all in because it’s such a blessing we even have this year. I want to make the most of it before I head off to IU.”
Jarosinski, who has a 4.62 grade point average on a 4.0 scale, plans to major in kinesiology. She wants to go to physical therapy school after graduation.
NAME: Taylor Jarosinski
SPORT: Girls track and field
POSITION: Pole vault.
HOBBIES: Student government, hanging out with friends, New Hope Church youth group.
COLLEGE PLANS: Will compete for the Indiana University and major in kinesiology.
FAVORITE MOVIE: “42.”
FAVORITE TV PROGRAMS: “Criminal Minds” and “Shooter.”
PARENTS: Kate and Steve Jarosinski