APRIL 25, 2011
Hi, I’m Kara.  I was born in Seattle, Washington, and spent the majority of my childhood in Vancouver, Washington.  My parents are extremely supportive and love coming to watch me at meets, and I have a great brother who especially likes what I do because it isn’t quite mainstream!
Washington is one of less than half of the U.S. states that contests the javelin in track and field at the high school level.  I took geometry during freshman year of high school, and my teacher just so happened to be the head girls’ track coach.  I had been a swimmer in the fall and played basketball that winter, but didn’t have a sport lined up for the spring yet, and Mr. Heidenreich wanted me to give javelin a try.  After some confusion (about what it even was) and resistance on my end, I went out for practice a little bit late in the season.  I learned and improved every day with the help of my event coach, and ended up throwing a personal best at the state meet to earn second place! 
I won the state title each of the next three years.  When I got to the age where I could be recruited by college programs, I chose to attend Purdue University and be one of Coach Rodney Zuyderwyk’s athletes.  (I did a lot little bit of studying along the way and earned a B.S. in Nutrition, Fitness and Health with a minor in Art and Design.)  I won three Big Ten Conference Championships, four NCAA Mideast Regional titles (the meet I had to compete in to get to the NCAA Championships), and was an NCAA All-American (top 8 at NCAA Championships) twice.  I threw the Big Ten Meet Record (also the American Collegiate Record and Purdue’s school record) of 61.56m (202’0”) in 2008.  I never won a NCAA Championship, despite being ranked first going into the meet two times. 

I accomplished some cool things during my four seasons as a Boilermaker, but the titles and records I am most proud of happened outside the collegiate system.  That 61.56m (202’0”) I threw in 2008?  It was a World A Standard at the time, meaning that when I won theUSATF Olympic Trials two months later, I made the Beijing Olympic Team.  In 2009, after a somewhat-frustrating-although-decently-consistent senior season, I threw 63.95m (209’10”) to win the USATF National Championship meet.  That performance put me on the Berlin, Germany World Championship team.

Until 2010, I was pretty terrible in international competitions.  I threw like 54m (180’-ish) at the Olympics, and like 52m (165’-ish) at World Championships in 2009, and was very inconsistent at other international meets I went to in 2009 (the year I graduated and was able to compete overseas and for money).  My boyfriend Russ and I moved to the Olympic Training Center in Chula Vista, California after that summer, and working with my coach, Ty Sevin, along with using the awesome amenities that the USOC provides athletes here has been fabulous.

The 2010 season saw me win my third USATF National Championship with an American Record throw of 66.67m (218’9”) and finish in second place overall in the Samsung Diamond League, a series of meets that brings the top 8 or 9 athletes in the world in each event together regularly throughout the summer.  My confidence got better in competition, my distances and consistency improved dramatically from seasons past, and I gained a lot of perspective heading into 2011, which is a World Championship year for track and field.  Follow my progress as I perform this season; my first meet is theDrake Relays in Des Moines, Iowa at 2:00pm on Friday, April 29!