The Mighty Fixsen - An Interview


Julia FixsenMounds View High School Class of 2019

 

Personal Records:

Pole Vault 13' 6.5"

High Jump 5' 8"

100 Meter Hurdles 15.44

300m Hurdles: 47.43  sec

200m split: 27.37

 

MSHSL State Appearances:

2015 - 9th Pole Vault

2016 - 2nd Pole Vault, 2nd High Jump, Academic All State

2017 - 1st Pole Vault, DNS High Jump, Academic All State

 

National Appearances:

2016 - USATF Outdoor Junior Nationals - 6th 

2017 - USATF Outdoor Junior Nationals - DNS

2018 - New Balance Indoor Nationals - 2nd 

 

Where were you born and how did you get started in Track & Field?

I live in Shoreview, Minnesota, and I am the youngest of three girls. My two older sisters, Olivia and Sophie, were both very athletic and participated in volleyball, basketball and track in high school. My oldest sister currently competes for Winona State as a heptathlete.  I however, started down a different path. At 9 years old I was inspired by Shawn Johnson's Olympic Gold performance and I started gymnastics. In Level 6 at eleven years old I was the MN State Beam Champion. I had big goals to compete at an elite level and I never stopped dreaming about the Olympics. But that all ended as I was working on my Level 9 skills.

 

What caused you to take up the Pole Vault and give up Gymnastics?

Over my gymnastics career I had suffered many injuries.  From fractured bones to sprained ankles, stitches, and concussions, I persevered through it all.  The beginning of the end however, came with my third concussion and news that I had stage 2 degeneration in my spine.

My parents did not want to risk a potential future of chronic pain for me and decided to end my gymnastics career. This completely crushed me. I was devastated. My parents insisted that gymnasts made really good pole vaulters. But I resisted because I could only think about gymnastics. I thought I wouldn't be good at any other sport. 

After a lot of badgering from my parents to try track as an 8th grader I found out my neighbor Hannah Van Beusekom was joining so I finally relented.  Hannah nudged me into doing pole vault the first day. I was very hesitant at first but to my surprise, I absolutely loved it! And it's gone up from there (quite literally).

 

What are your goal setting techniques and what do you do for the mental training? Where did you get the mental training and how do you know it works?

Pole vaulting, like any other sport, requires speed, strength, and technical expertise. However, I believe there is another part to it that is crucial to getting to the next level; mental training. You could be the strongest, most athletic person in the world, but if you don't work on your mental aptitude, you'll have a tough time getting to where you want to be.

Focus, discipline, remaining calm, and unwavering confidence play a vital role in allowing a pole vaulter to excel. I work very hard on and off season to improve my speed, strength and technical expertise. However, I put as much investment into the mental game.

My daily routine consists of a lot of visualization and speaking positively out loud to myself. I will close my eyes and not only see myself getting over a bar but I try to physically feel the motions I'm doing inside my head. I watch a lot of elite pole vaulters on YouTube, repeatedly breaking down their technique until it's burned into my mind. During a meet I have discovered how to maintain focus while also having fun. This helps me to remain calm, relieve pressure, and allow my muscle memory to take over.