Girls track: Hanover’s Kayla York looking to build on AAU season
By John O’Malley Post-Tribune correspondent April 16, 2013 11:46AM
Hanover Central's Kayla york competes in the shot put on Saturday, April 6, 2013, during a meet in Highland. | Scott R. Brandush~Sun-Times Media
Updated: April 16, 2013 3:17PM
CEDAR LAKE — Kayla York enjoyed a record-setting summer highlighted with national acclaim.
It definitely appeared there was no stopping the Hanover Central sophomore after she captured the Bronze Medal in the Intermediate Division (15-16-year-olds) while hurling the discus (136-9) at the AAU Junior Olympics in Humble, Texas, July 31.
The Wildcats’ sophomore was so excited about her progress she couldn’t wait to improve on last year’s 14th-place finish at state.
“I want to definitely get to state and place this year,” York said. “I want to score and at least get in the top nine.”
Steve Foulds, her throws coach, said York’s goals should be 140 feet in discus and 40 in shot put.
“The beginning of the season has kind of been up and down,” Foulds said. “There have been things that have kind of slowed her down. I think everybody is kind of waiting for her to get everything going and for her to get back to where she should be.
“She should be one of the top five throwers in discus and maybe top 10 in shot if things come together.”
However, there’s a bit of a speed bump facing York right now — overcoming a slightly pulled groin injury.
“It’s something that’s keeping her from a full throw right now,” Foulds said. “I think once she gets through that, she’ll be back to where she wants to be. She’s very dedicated, has good explosiveness and real good form. In practice earlier this year, she showed a lot of strength. She’s starting to get that back now.”
With her pulled groin muscle, it’s hard for York to sweep her leg. While the injury might be minor, it’s preventing her from doing a full throw. She’s throwing with only a half turn.
For York — who qualified for state last year after placing third at the Chesterton Regional (133-4) — the injury can’t heal quick enough.
After all, the multi-talented York has goals to achieve.
“I want to defend my (Porter County Conference) title and be throwing in the low-to-mid 140s by the end of the season,” she said.
While that seems difficult to comprehend right now, it’s not unattainable for York.
She sings the national anthem at Illiana Blackbirds hockey games at Midwest Ice Arena and at nearly all Hanover Central home girls and boys basketball games.
York is also involved in the school’s Thespian Society.
She was a chorus girl in the school musical “42nd Street” earlier this year.
“It was a lot of fun, I really liked it,” she said. “It was my first musical. I decided to try it, because I wasn’t playing basketball and had a lot of time. I figured I would try to pursue the art side — not just the athletic side.
“We were in the front line singing and dancing, too. I’m not very good. It took a lot of rehearsing. It was a lot of work. I’m a lot better now than I was at the beginning.”
York said her parents (Kelly and Chris) have always tried to encourage her to experience new things.
“My parents have always tried to push me, especially if they think I have the potential to be good at something, or if they can tell I just might have fun with it,” York said.
As far as belting out the national anthem, York has grown increasingly comfortable with each performance over the years.
She said she’d really welcome the opportunity to sing at Gary Railcats games at some point.
“I started singing it in eighth grade,” she said. “I would sing before my volleyball and basketball games in middle school. It carried over to high school. At first, I used to get really nervous, but I’ve done it so many times, I don’t get nervous anymore.”
York, and her brother, Mike, are fraternal twins born only two minutes apart. Her brother, a very solid runner for the Wildcats, was born first.
“We’re closer than most brothers and sisters my age,” Kayla said. “We have a good relationship and are real supportive of one another.”
While York has nearly three full seasons of prep track remaining, she’s excited about one day competing at the next level.
In fact, she’s received a few recruiting letters, including two rather noteworthy ones — one from Alabama and another from the University of Miami. She’s also had an inquiry from Utah State.
“I love Miami,” said York, whose cousin’s friend is Beth Wendlinger — a former Hanover Central all-state pitcher who just happens to be married to Hurricanes’ throw coach, Cory Young, the head coach for Miami’s men’s and women’s teams.
First things first, though.
There’s a slight injury York must overcome and a whole lot of throws on the horizon for her to make in order for her to even dwell too much on competing at the next level right now.
“Kayla is someone who’s really dedicated,” Foulds said. “She really wants to do the right things that will help her get to where she really wants to go. I think her biggest asset is her motivation. She works hard and she wants to get better.”