MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — The best pole vaulter in state history will not be competing at the state meet this weekend.

Mounds View High School senior Julia Fixsen, the girls state record holder, did not qualify during last week’s section meet — but she had one heck of a high school career.

For all that has accomplished — and boy has she accomplished a lot — what might be most impressive is that it very well could have never happened at all. Call her the reluctant pole vaulter.

“Actually it didn’t appeal to me at all. I was actually frightened about it. I did not want to do it. But my first day, when my friend convinced me to do it with her, I liked the gymnastics part of it,” Fixsen said.

And it didn’t take long until Fixsen was hooked.

“I loved it right away. Just because of the gymnastics piece. Like, it was so familiar to me that I was like, OK, I can keep doing this,” she said. “It’s just fun to do stuff that you love and like go upside down, it’s really thrilling. And it’s a goal that I’ve always had for myself to go to the Olympics and be like a good athlete.”

Julia Fixsen (credit: CBS)

And she is definitely on the Olympic track. She’s a two-time state champ, holds the state record, competed for Team USA at the World Championships in Finland.

“I’m really proud of being a captain this year, and leading those girls, and leaving the legacy, hopefully, and that’s really something that I can leave with them for a long time,” Fixsen said.

She’s accomplished just about everything there is to do at the high school level. So as she moves into the next stage of her career, and life, what’s next?

“You know, just keep going higher. I mean, I’m always competing against myself because I’m really the only one out there, unfortunately, in Minnesota. So really just to get over that 14-foot barrier has been a challenge for me for the past two years, so to get over that would be perfect,” she said.

She will continue to compete next year at the University of Georgia. There will be national and international competitions as well. Wherever the pole vault takes her, it might not be a bad idea to stop at a post office every once in a while and maybe send a thank you card to that friend who first forced her to try it.

“The biggest thank you card, oh my gosh, yeah!” Fixsen said.

David McCoy

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