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PORTLAND, Ore. (PORTLAND TRIBUNE) — Wilsonville’s Kylie Fox can just flat fling it.
“It” in this case is the javelin, and right now, Fox has the best throw in the nation for girls ages 13-14.
Fox, an incoming freshman at Wilsonville High School, threw the javelin 133 feet, 11 inches at an All Comers meet on June 16 at Lake Oswego High School this summer, and also hit a throw of 127 to win an AAU qualifying meet in Yakima, Washington, in June. Now, she’s getting ready to test herself at a couple national meets, including a USATF meet in Florida on July 30, and an AAU meet near Houston, Texas, in August.
While pleased with her summer success so far — her throw has brought her within 1 foot, 5 inches of the Wilsonville High record held by Rebecca Wenz (who went on to throw at Weber State) — Fox said that the national-level meets will be a new experience for her.
“Oh, no. I’ve never done that before,” she said. “I think I’m just going to go there, have fun and just try to throw my best.”
Fox’s road to national prominence has been a short one. While she participated in track at her former middle school — Jackson Middle School in Southwest Portland — before the COVID-19 pandemic, she’s really hit her stride since moving with her family (including parents Jason and Cheryl Fox) to Wilsonville a year ago and beginning to train with Wildcats’ javelin coach Mike Hieb.
“I’ve been throwing since fourth grade, but I just started throwing with Mike for about two to three months,” Fox said, emphasizing the impact his coaching has made on her throwing. “(It’s meant) everything, like, literally everything. I mean, I don’t think I would be here at all if I didn’t have Mike. I’ve gotten my form and literally every single aspect you can get in javelin from Mike.”
For his part, Hieb is happy to credit Fox for her hard work, coachability and success.
“Obviously, she’s a great athlete. That’s the first part,” he said. “She was really good at track when she was younger — everything, like sprints and jumps and throwing — (but) I think the biggest thing since I’ve met her is how coachable she is. She takes things that you explain to her and she develops it into the throw with ease. She’s motivated, she’ll go home and work on things that you give her (whether) that’s a certain lift or a certain stretch or a technique. So … she’s a great athlete, but on top of that, it’s her being able to be coached.”
Fox began throwing the javelin when she was in fourth grade — her first season in track — but admits that it took a while for everything to click.
“I just wanted to try everything and then I ended up really liking (the javelin),” Fox said. “Yeah, it definitely did not click at first, but once I got my form down, (I’ve done) a lot better, but there’s still a lot for me to learn.”
Fox recalls one practice after beginning her work with Hieb when she really began to “get” the javelin.
“There was this one practice where Mike brought one of the other girls — her name was Grace Mager — and I … (was) just looking at her I felt like I got some of my form better and I just wanted to beat her really badly. I think I threw a PR that day, too.”
“She’s highly motivated by records and people, obviously, like the other high school throwers, so she likes competition,” Hieb said.
Fox proved her love of competition — and the positive impact it can have on her performance — in the meet at Lake Oswego. While she admits she still has room to grow and improve, she now knows what it feels like to hit a big throw.
“I don’t think I was throwing very well at the very beginning and then I just got that one throw and I could tell it was going far,” Fox said. “I feel like I just launched my like whole body weight and normally I don’t think (I’ve done) that before.”