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HHS' Bixenman inks with FHSU track

By KLINT SPILLER

kspiller@dailynews.net

Hays High School senior Derek Bixenman has dealt with his share of injuries, but it didn't stop him from achieving his ultimate goal of signing to compete at the next level.

Bixenman signed his letter of intent Friday in the HHS dining room to compete at Fort Hays State University.

Bixenman said FHSU was the only school he was considering, and he chose to be a Tiger because he wanted to stay close to family and friends. He also liked jumping coach, Ty Haas.

"It kind of felt right to go here," Bixenman said.

Bixenman had knee surgery during his sophomore year and was just coming back from it when track season came around. He participated, but his sophomore season wasn't as strong as when he was fully healthy the next season.

As a sophomore, Bixenman said his personal best in the high jump was 6 feet, 2 inches.

Then as a junior in 2012, he cleared six feet and finished third at his Class 5A regional to go to state.

At state, he wasn't the favorite to win it, but when the moment arose, he captured it, clearing 6-6 and tying teammate Adam Deterding for 5A's top mark.

He lost the tiebreaker to Deterding, but his second-place finish was one of the highlights of Hays High's third straight state championship.

"I kind of went in there and thought I had nothing to lose," Bixenman said. "I had to go out and give it my best, and I actually came out on top."

With his college selection out of the way, Bixenman said he hopes to improve upon that mark this season. At the moment, he is shooting for 6-8.

"It's really nice (getting the decision out of the way), because it kind of motivates me to work harder to get higher heights and see how far I can go," Bixenman said.

Bixenman said he's enjoyed competing on Hays High's track and field team. In his time at Hays High, the boys' squad has never lost a meet.

"It's not even really a team," he said.

"It's like a family. We are all very close. Everybody, even the runners, even if you don't see anybody in practice, you still know them very well. It's nice to have that chemistry even as a track team and even if it's an individual event that gets you there."