All-state hooper chooses track over basketball

By Michael Kinney 

Kileigh Mixon knew she could go higher, but she had other things to do. The Stroud senior had just easily won the high jump competition at the Oklahoma Baptist University Bison Invitational and decided to stop at 5-foot-6.  

This decision brought a chorus of disappointed reactions from the OBU athletes who were helping run the event. They wanted to see just how high Mixon, who is the two-time defending 2A state champion, could go.

That has become the norm for Mixon. Whether it’s on the track or on the basketball court, she has instantly stood out as someone to watch, which she doesn’t mind at all. 

“I love big crowds like at state. State has the biggest crowds,” Mixon said. “It’s the best feeling ever to perform in front of everybody.” 

At the OBU meet, Mixon walked away with three individual gold medals in the high jump, the long jump and the 100-meter hurdles. 

The hurdles were the reason she left the high jump pit early. Bella Driver, who beat Mixon by a split second at the 2022 state meet, was in the same heat as her and she wanted to be at her best in the rematch. 

Despite high winds and cool temperatures, Mixon won the event with a time of 15.43 while this time Driver took the runner-up spot at 15.70. 

“That loss was so tough,” Mixon said. “Going in, being the No. 1 seed for the whole year and having an underclassman beat you just really lights some fire. I got second my sophomore year too, but it was a really good senior. So having an underclassman beat you kind of hurts your heart.” 

The only thing that may excite Mixon more than large crowds is the prospect of being challenged. Mixon said she wants everyone to try and beat her. But if they do, it’s not something she will forget any time soon. 

“Probably what stands out the most is seeing her be able to compete when she has competition ahead of her,” Stroud coach Kelly Brown said. “A lot of the meets we go to, she’s kind of always been the No. 1 person as far as that goes. Like today, for example, the girl she contends for the state championship, she made it known real quick and real clear the kind of athlete she is and that even with competition, she can always still follow through on those situations.” 

Up until this past Summer, Mixon believed she was going to be playing college basketball. That was going to be her ticket out of what had been a difficult home life, according to Brown. 

However, Mixon’s success on the track didn’t go unnoticed by at least one local school. Oklahoma State offered her a scholarship to be a high jumper for the track and field team.   

At the time Mixon had been playing for the Team Griffin AAU basketball team and wasn’t sure running track was what she wanted to do going forward. However, it took only a couple of days for her to realize the opportunity that was being offered to her.  

“I’ve been doing basketball since I was like kindergarten and going into AAU it really drained me and I didn’t really have the love for it anymore,” Mixon said. “And then I do track for maybe two or three months and I’m already jumping what I’m jumping. So, when I go to OSU and I have all the practice and all the coaching, you never know how far you will get. So that’s how I think of it.” 

Even though Mixon was named to the Oklahoma Girls Basketball Coaches Association Small School All-State team this season, she was ready to take a different path and signed with the Pokes last November.  

Mixon said the OSU coaches, academics and the environment won her over. But the most important factor may have been that she will be close to her little sister, who will be able to watch her compete. 

Before Mixon heads to Stillwater, she still has to finish out her final year at Stroud. Along with defending her crown in the high jump, she is looking to add title in the hurdles and the long jump, which she took third in last year.  

When it’s all said and done, Mixon hopes she leaves records at Stroud that won’t be broken until her sister gets there.   

I want people to say that I did all that I can do and just keep my family name going,” Mixon said. “My uncle was like a three-sport all-stater. So just keep the Mixon family going and wait for my little sister to run it back up when I leave. That’s what my goal is with getting all these records up is for my little sister to come beat them.” 

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Photos: Michael Kinney

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