Most incoming freshmen are worried about what they are wearing on their first day of high school but Yukon freshman Kyla Davis’ main concern goes beyond the majority of other students her age.
She has 6A high school state titles on her mind.
Kyla won the USATF Hershey National Junior Olympic Track and Field national championship in the pole vault competition with a vault of 11-feet and 5 1/4 –inches July 26 in Lawrence, Kan. at Rock Chalk Park.
The second-place winner was at 10-feet and 11 ¾ -inches.
“Unbelievable,” Kyla said. “Very exciting, emotions were pretty crazy.”
There were a total of 33 girls, including Kyla, who competed in the event at the national championships and 13,000 at the entire track meet. The majority of the other girls in the event started officially vaulting when the bar was at 6-feet but Kyla did not start officially until the bar was at 9-feet.
Before going to the national competition, Kyla had to get through the state level and regional level competitions. At the state level, Kyla and her family traveled to Cherokee and from there, she advanced to the regional track and field meet in St. Louis.
Once she qualified at the regional meet, it was on to Lawrence and the national meet.
At 14-years-old, Kyla is still new to the pole vaulting world. She began vaulting when she was in seventh-grade and it was natural to her from the first time she picked up the pole, so she decided to pursue the sport.
Last April, Kyla was introduced to Tim McMichael, who is a pole vaulting coach. McMichael is the record-holder in pole vaulting at the University of Oklahoma with a vault of more than 18-feet.
Pairing Kyla and McMichael together was a match-made-in-heaven, as Kyla improved her highest vault by nearly two feet in less than two weeks of practicing with McMichael. Kyla went from 7-feet, 6-inches to 8-feet, 6-inches in one week and then improved to 9-feet, 3-inches in the second week.
“He helped me right away with my technique,” Kyla said. “I didn’t have any training, so it was great to get to work with Tim (McMichael).”
McMichael said he knew Kyla was special from the first time he saw her.
“I saw the potential right off the bat,” McMichael said. “It’s just one of those things, how she moved around and her balance, it just screamed ‘athlete’. She caught my attention immediately.”
Kyla said she has big dreams and lofty goals for her career, both in the near future and down the road.
“I would like to win four state championships in high school,” Kyla said. “I want to break the state record, which is 13-feet, 4-inches. I also would like to compete in the Olympics someday. Right now, I am just focused on getting higher.”
McMichael said he believes Kyla can accomplish all of her goals as long as she continues to work hard.
“I have a saying, which is ‘being on track’,” McMichael said. “As long as she stays on track and she continues to improve, then it’s very legitimate to dream those dreams. She has the potential to be a world-class athlete.”
As far as competitions go, Kyla is done until the winter when she will compete in several indoor competitions before high school track season arrives in the spring.
The Yukon freshman was into gymnastics before she found pole vaulting. She did both for a while but recently has decided to focus solely on her pole vaulting career.
Kyla is a Yukon Public Schools lifer and she attended Skyview Elementary School during her elementary years.