Thursday, June 15, 2017

Julia Fixen Overcomes Injury to Take Class AA pole Vault Title

When an athlete wearing a "boot" that indicates a foot injury climbs up to the top block on the podium you know this isn't your typical success story. Mounds View sophomore Julia Fixen who,despite a season-long battle merely to compete, vaulted to victory in the Class AA girl's pole vault.

The State championship was a dream turned into reality. In years before she had battled Rochester Century's Andrianna Jacobs,who holds the State Record for the MSHSL Championships, but came up short. Jacobs graduated last year.  Fixen said she missed competing with Jacobs, instead the challenge was not the challenge  being able to manage the pain in her right foot that she described as sometimes feeling like someone had stuck a knife into her foot.

When she was first diagnosed early in the season as having a stress fracture, the prognosis looked bleak. A "second opinion" downgraded the damage to a stress reaction.  The difference being that a fracture would probably have ended her season before it began, while the stress reaction could be and was managed.

Julia Fixen
Photo by Gene Niemi
But Fixen is not just a vaulter. She high jumps, and runs the two sprint hurdle events.  The vault was her event for the MSHSL State Championships, She couldn't do the high jump because take off foot for the high jump was the injured right one.  She didn't want to put extra stress on the foot so the hurdles wasn't an option either.

Julia Fixen clears 11'6"
Photo by Gene Niemi
She only vaulted four times last Saturday.  Twice for warm ups and a miss on her first jump at 11'6" before clearing the bar with room to spare for the win.  That height was well below her best of 13'3", but good enough to win. Like many of the other female vaulters, Julia was a gymnast before another injury--several concussions--ended her time in that sport. Fixen was familiar with dealing with injuries.

Her current injury won't stop her from adding one more competition.  She's going to vault in Nationals in a few weeks, she said after the awards ceremony at Hamline. Since she has two more years at Mounds View, taking on the best vaulters in the country will be a view of what it will take to take the next step in a career that is still rising to new heights.

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