Auburn University javelin thrower Kylee Carter was a long, long way from her hometown of Beauregard when she competed on an international stage last weekend.
Carter showed little hesitation in her first competition outside the United States, earning a gold medal for Team USA at the North American, Central American & Caribbean (NACAC) U23 Championships in Queretaro, Mexico. Carter’s throw of 54.48 meters topped Stanford’s Jenna Gray by just over three feet.
“It was a really cool experience. To get to represent your country is really cool,” Carter said. “(Taking first) was refreshing. It was a sigh of relief just because it was a pretty rough throwing day. I think me and Jenna had better days practicing before because there wasn't really much wind going on. We were just fighting weather conditions.
“Just being able to pull it out at the end was really nice.”
Carter, now a junior at Auburn, has become well established as a consistent threat to take first. She’s come a long way from her early days in the event at Beauregard, where she quickly went from intriguing option to state champion.
Carter – who also competed in the high jump, long jump and triple jump in high school – was recruited on a whim by assistant track coach Shane Lake to give the javelin a whirl just before the Hornets’ sectionals meet to determine who goes to state. With little preparation, Carter reached back and tossed the javelin farther than any of her Beauregard teammates could muster.
After the go-ahead from the other team members, Lake let Carter throw the javelin at sectionals. By the tiem the season ended, Carter had state championships in the high jump, long jump, triple jump and javelin.
By the time her high school career ended, Carter was a two-time high jump state indoor champion and a three-time outdoor champion; a three-time javelin state champion; an indoor and outdoor long jump state champion; a triple jump state champion and a shot put state champion.
Carter helped Beauregard win an indoor state championship and two outdoor titles, and she set a Class 4A state record in the javelin. She also had a 4.0 GPA and was the valedictorian of her senior class.
“I'm extremely proud of her coming from this rural area of Beauregard and putting us on the map,” said Rob Carter, who was one of Carter’s track coaches. “It goes back to her being at Auburn and doing the things she did there in the past few years. It was all the things where you knew she had the work ethic. She could work through it. She had the drive.
“It all stems from her ability just to overcome obstacles, continue to be a great student and excel.”
Carter’s competitive season has been in full swing since March, and she’s not done quite yet. She’ll compete at the USA Track & Field Outdoor Championships July 25-28 in Des Moines, Iowa, which will put Carter on the same level as some of her personal heroes in the sport.
Carter has made a name for herself with her efforts in track and field. While her ability has taken her to bigger and bigger stages, she still appreciates where it all started for her.
“It's really nice to have the community to support me in Beauregard,” Carter said. “It's just been really nice just to come this far in one of the events I did while I was in high school. It's always nice to have a community like Beauregard to support you, be there for you and be happy for your success, too.”