It takes a lot of strategy to be successful while running hurdles in high school.
Brownstown Central senior Rob Fox admits he may not have the best form of any hurdler around, but he said he thinks he has the speed to win his share of blue ribbons.
“There is a certain rhythm to it, sort of a motion that you have to do in between,” Fox said of running hurdles. “The first hurdle, you need to stride as much as you can up to it with power, and I sort of go down a little bit on the first hurdle, then sprint up over it.
“After that, it’s a (steady) rhythm. I lead with my right leg. In the 300s, it’s easy to mess that up, so I’ll lead with my left sometimes. You’ve got more distance between hurdles, and it’s very different.”
With hurdles being a quick event, Fox said the start is key to a top finish.
“I usually do beat people to the first hurdle,” Fox said. “I’ve got a lot more speed than a lot of the other hurdlers do, which makes up for me being not so tall. Hurdlers from other schools, such as Seymour, have a lot better form and technique than me, but I can outrun them, so I make up that difference between hurdles.”
Fox has acted as the Braves’ No. 1 hurdler since his freshman year, when he broke the school freshman 300-meter hurdles record.
Last spring, he finished as the Mid-Southern Conference champion in both the 110- and 300-meter hurdles.
He started jumping hurdles in the eighth grade.
“I had done the long jump, and there was a day when we went around and tried different events,” Fox said. “We all tried the hurdles, and I was kind of good at it. I started doing the hurdles, and I got better and better. It is something you’ve got to get used to.”
Fox’s career-best in the 110 is 14.9 seconds, while his fastest time in the 300 is 41.3.
“With both hurdles, it’s supposed to be a step,” Fox said. “It’s not supposed to actually be a jump. I have to jump. You see people with better form, and it looks like they are just stepping. They really don’t go up that much. I can easily do that with the 300s. I enjoy the 110s because it’s somewhat a short race, but yet there is a lot of time to make up the difference.”
At the mark, Fox prefers running in the middle for the 110s and on an inside lane in the 300s.
“With the 300s, the turns are very different. The inside is much shorter, where the outside is a whole lot longer,” Fox said.
“For the 300s, it’s just a straight sprint as hard as you can to the first hurdle,” Fox said. “After that, I just jump them. There is no real rhythm or form because the distance is so far between them, so if it ends up being on the wrong foot, I just have to go with it.”
Weather, like in any other outdoor sport, can alter a performance in the hurdles.
“(A head) wind can really mess you up on the 110s,” Fox said. “If you go up and you’re too straight up or doing something wrong, it will slow you down.”
Fox has been a two-sport athlete throughout high school, as he ran cross-country the past four seasons.
For his career, Fox’s best cross-country time was 18:01.
“I always enjoyed cross-country, and we said as a team the only reason we ran cross-country was for the satisfying feeling afterward,” he said. “It was a really good feeling of fitness. It’s something that is a little bit different than track.”
Parents: Larry and Darlene Fox
Siblings: Kristy, Doug and Travis
Sports: Track and field 4 years, cross-country 4 years
Athletics highlights: Set freshman school record in the 300-meter hurdles, won Mid-Southern Conference titles in the 110- and 300-meter hurdles in 2014, regional qualifier in hurdles the past two years
Attending BCHS: “I like the closeness of the teachers. A lot of times, you can make really good friends with the teachers if you get to know them and do things right. That is honestly one of the best things I like about this school.”
Organizations: National Honor Society, Robotics Club, Christian Club
Plans after high school: Attend Purdue University and major in mechanical engineering
Favorite away track: Bloomington North
Favorite cross-country course: Bedford
Favorite food: Chicken Alfredo
Favorite movie: “Inception”