In the high jump, just a centimeter here or there can make a big difference in winning or losing, in going to the national meet or not going.
For Ashland University junior Ellie Jindra, a few extra centimeters at the 2019 Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference Championships means the difference between being in the middle of the pack this weekend at the 2019 NCAA Division II Indoor Championships, and being one of the favorites for a podium spot.
On Saturday (March 9) at 3:30 p.m. in Pittsburg, Kan., and 4:30 p.m. Eastern time, Jindra will be the No. 3 seed in the women's high jump at indoor nationals, and she looks to become a D-II All-American for the first time.
"I'm really excited," Jindra said. "I went for outdoor nationals last year, and I didn't have the meet I wanted to have (15th place), so I'm really excited to sort of redeem myself."
Prior to this winter, Jindra's collegiate indoor high jump best mark was 1.68 meters/5-feet-6. It didn't take long for her to top that, as in January at Findlay, coming out of Christmas and New Year's break, she went for 1.71 meters/5-feet-7¼.
By the end of January, Jindra had moved up to 1.72 meters/5-feet-7¾, which would be in the middle of the nationals pack. But at conference indoors, she put together the PR which has her trailing just two other nationals qualifiers at 1.76 meters/5-feet-9¼.
"We started peaking probably about three weeks ago," Jindra said. "It obviously made a big difference. I've been working really hard on getting my arm up over my head when I jump. I'm not very good at it, but I think I've been doing that a little better. And then I think I've been holding my head back longer. It felt really good to sort of put that into a jump.
"Each centimeter is a lot in high jump. If you look at the stats, the difference of making it is one centimeter."
Jindra's position coach is former Eagle indoor high jump national champion Abby Majesky, who has tutored Jindra in getting to this point.
"It's really helpful to have someone who has done it before," Jindra said. "She knows what we're feeling, the school, how we're busy. She's done a really good job at getting us ready for the meets."
Jindra is one of four AU women who will compete at indoor nationals, as they are looking to get back on the national stage as a team for the first time since 2015.
"It's really exciting," she said. "I love having people from each group. We all just come together, and it's really exciting."
As for the potential of winning a national championship herself this weekend, Jindra said, "I have thought about it, but the main goal for myself is to get top eight. I really just want to redeem myself and keep my season going upwards."