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Chris Aarhus / Forum News Service, Published February 06 2014

Carrington's Hochhalter to throw at Iowa

JAMESTOWN, N.D. – For Kayla Hochhalter, the drive to Division I started her first year of high school.

“That’s been my main goal,” the Carrington senior thrower said. “To go Division I, ever since I was a freshman. It’s amazing.”

Hochhalter saw the fruits of her labor on Wednesday’s National Signing Day, when she signed her letter of intent to throw for the University of Iowa track and field team.

A standout in the javelin, discus and shot put, Hochhalter said she narrowed her list to Iowa and the University of Minnesota, before ultimately deciding to become a Hawkeye.

“I just really, really enjoyed the University of Iowa and everything it had,” Hochhalter said. “They have a great program, but it’s mainly because of (throwing coach Scott) Cappos. He’s a great guy.”

Hochhalter has been told to concentrate on the javelin, but that she’ll be asked to throw all three of her high school events at the next level. They also want her to try the hammer throw.

“She’s one of the few athletes – especially ones that Division I teams recruit – that are involved in all of the throws,” Carrington coach Greg Hoeckle said. “They concentrate on one or two, but never three. They really liked that about Kayla. She’s versatile and able to do different things.”

Her lone individual state championship is in the discus, which came last May. She’s been instrumental in the Cardinals claiming the past two state championships. She scored 20 of Carrington’s 80 points as a sophomore, and 24 of their 113 last May.

“Kayla’s a very hard worker – she’s very determined,” Hoeckle said. “She knew what her goals were, and one of them was to throw at that level. She had the talent, and she made sure she got there.”

Hochhalter made herself known as an eighth-grader when she placed third in the javelin. She’s never placed outside the top three in the event since, though a state title has eluded her. She has a personal record of 145 feet, which she achieved last summer. A throw of that distance at state would give her the Class B record.

“They said I’d probably throw all three, but mainly focus on the javelin, because I already have marks that could potentially place at a Big Ten meet,” said Hochhalter, a nine-time state place-winner.

A throw just over 136 feet was good enough for eighth at the Big Ten Outdoor Championships last season.

“It’s a dream of Kayla’s to participate and throw at a big-time college,” Carrington coach Greg Hoeckle said. “She loved Iowa. She loved the coaching staff and the facilities. She was down there and toured the campus. She’s just very excited to go down there and showcase her talent.”

The University of Iowa is looking to rebuild its women’s program under sixth-year coach Layne Anderson. The Hawkeyes have finished in the bottom half of the Big Ten the last two seasons.

Aarhus writes for the Jamestown Sun