Track: Roof defies odds

By Richard Greene | Published Wednesday, May 10, 2017
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As a 6-year-old, Kayson Roof narrowly escaped death in a car accident.

Kayson Roof, Slidell, Senior, 1A Pole Vault, 300 Hurdles. Messenger photo by Joe Duty

Pipe from a truck smashed through the window of the vehicle she was riding in with her stepfather and hit the young girl in the face. Clinging to life, she was rushed to Cook Children’s Medical Center in Fort Worth. She then underwent a 12-hour surgery to reconstruct her face, in which every bone was broken.

Twelve years later, Roof, who defied the odds at a young age, is now preparing for her fourth trip to the state track meet. The Slidell senior will compete in the 1A finals in the pole vault and 300 hurdles at the University Interscholastic League track and field championships at Mike Myers Stadium at the University of Texas in Austin.

“I’m even more humbled to start so rough and to be here,” Roof said. “If that didn’t happen, I wouldn’t appreciate it as much.”

For Roof, who made it through the accident with no brain trauma but has deep scars on her face, has tried to use her story to be a role model for others.

“I like having an impact on young people,” Roof said. “I hope they see how I did this and hope they work to accomplish their goals from school and work to sports.”

This will be Roof’s fourth time to run the hurdles at state. She garnered a silver medal as a sophomore. Last year, she finished fifth. With her time of 49.59 at regionals, she enters the state meet seeded sixth. She expects to run better at state. At regionals, she was competing in her fifth race.

She has a love-hate relationship with the event.

“I enjoy it because I’ve gone to state all four years,” Roof said. “But it’s like the 400 with jumping hurdles. I hate the 400.”

Roof will make her third appearance at state in the pole vault. She did not compete in the event last year and returned this year to win the area and region title.

Roof enters the finals as one of three vaulters to clear 9-6.

Roof started vaulting as a freshman and recalls the nerves it produced. She quickly overcame it.

“As the years go by, I got more comfortable and it makes it easier,” Roof said. “Not doing it last year, it took a little time to get comfortable again. But I’m glad I’m back.”

In her fourth trip to state, Roof hopes to brings home a medal. But she’s proud of what she’s accomplished.

“It’s real special for me to be able to share it with friends and family,” Roof said.

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