Senior thrower ready to continue career at Tarleton State

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Senior Kristin Cox signed her letter of intent to throw for Tarleton State University next year on April 14. On hand for her signing were, front row: father Dale Cox, Kristin Cox, mother Meleia Cox and great-grandfather Cleo Sellers, back row: grandmother Pam Hildebrand and grandfather Gary Hildebrand. (Lauren Jette Photo)

Senior Kristin Cox signed her letter of intent to throw for Tarleton State University next year on April 14. On hand for her signing were, front row: father Dale Cox, Kristin Cox, mother Meleia Cox and great-grandfather Cleo Sellers, back row: grandmother Pam Hildebrand and grandfather Gary Hildebrand. (Lauren Jette Photo)

By LAUREN JETTE

Liberty Hill senior Kristin Cox knew from a young age that she wanted to be a college athlete.

On April 14, she signed to continue her athletic career as a thrower for Tarleton State University.

The only difference from her childhood dream and her signing last week, was that she will be continuing her track career, not a softball career like she originally envisioned.

“I’ve always wanted to be a college athlete, and I figured when I was younger, it would be in softball, but either way, I’ll take it,” Cox said.

“I’m pretty passionate about track. I’ve learned to really love it over the past four years, especially with our team and our coaches, they’ve been really supportive. We’ve never had a thrower that we know of sign from Liberty Hill. They haven’t found one, so I’m happy to be the first.”

Cox got her first taste of track and field in the seventh grade, when she tried just about every sport, except cross country, in addition to softball. Since she had a strong arm from playing softball, coaches had Cox try discus and shot put, where she quickly left her mark, earning the junior high record her eighth grade year.

“It was something different. Softball was my main focus then, but I decided I’d do track. It’s always good to be a multi-sport athlete,” Cox said.

“When I got to high school, my goal was to be on varsity as a freshman. I just really wanted my letterman as a freshman. At my first track practice, I did a couple of throws and my coach was so excited because we didn’t have too many good throwers. I was like, ‘ok, where does that put me?’ and he was like, ‘you’re going to be on varsity,’ and I freaked out.

“Softball was still my main focus, but it was like, maybe track could get me somewhere. After that year, I was hooked, especially excelling in it as a freshman, I thought I could maybe go further.”

At last week’s district track meet, Cox won the district title in discus and came in second at shot put, to add to a career in which she placed at district all four years, and advanced to area her freshman and junior years. An injury during shot put warmups at district her junior year ended her area streak, but Cox still placed while throwing with an injured hand.

“It goes back and forth, but once I got to high school, the shot put girls get pretty big and I’m still kind of smaller, but compared to them, I can’t throw as far and I have more speed, so that makes me better in discus, because you have to be faster, so that’s why I like it,” Cox explained.

“I’m not bad at shot put, I just favor discus more because it’s more challenging to me, so I think that’s also another reason I like it more.”

Cox doesn’t come from a family of throwers, so her talent is unique to her.

“I’m the first one really, that’s been good at it. It’s just something that not a lot of people get into it. I just happened to get into it and really work at it to where I became good at it,” she said.

After originally wanting to continue her education at Texas A&M Corpus Christi, where Cox has spent a lot of time on vacation with her family, but a visit to the Tarleton State campus in Stephenville changed her mind.

“I’d never thought of Tarleton, and it’s basically like here,” Cox said.

“I grew up on a ranch, I’m used to that as well, I’m not just an athlete, I do outdoor stuff all the time and we raised cattle when I was younger. That’s basically what I’m used to, so when we went up there, everybody was so nice and it’s such a great campus. It’s a nice campus with really good athletics and it’s still a good school too.”

With plans to major in animal science, Tarleton State was a perfect fit.

“I want to be an animal science, vet, so that was a good place to go for agriculture stuff, so they are going to have everything I need class-wise,” Cox said.

Not only will Cox be facing a higher level of competition when she gets to college, she will also be learning a few new throws.

“I’ll be learning the hammer, weight throw and possibly the javelin in college, so who knows? Maybe I’ll be better at one of those when I get there,” Cox said.

“I am excited, but I know the hammer and the weight throw can get really dangerous, honestly, and they are just really hard and one wrong throw can mess you up all season, because it’s so heavy and it can tweak your back and you can get hurt very easily,” Cox said. “I am excited because I’ve never done it before and javelin is always something I’ve really wanted to try because I am faster.”

Cox said her dream wouldn’t have come true without the support from her coaches and teammates.

“Definitely a big thanks to my coaches because since my freshman year, they’ve said I could do this in college. They recognized my talent even before I did. And (softball) Coach (Charice) Hankins has been supportive of me,” Cox said. “My teammates too, before I came, they really didn’t care about throwers, but now even other field events, we matter too. Just because you run, it doesn’t mean that’s all that track’s about. I just hope that what I did, people coming up next will get that same respect and appreciation.”

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