Lexi Hart set the bar high as a sophomore, winning the Missouri Class 4 State Track and Field Championships long jump with an 18-foot, 5-inch effort in Jefferson City.
“Every time she jumps, she breaks the school record – which was her school record,” Truman jump coach Steve Cassity said.
Hart finished sixth in the triple jump (37-5) the first day of the state meet to set the stage for Saturday's dramatic win.
She is also one of the most highly recruited volleyball players in the Midwest – the 5-foot-10 outside and middle hitter was honorable mention all-state as a sophomore last fall – and a standout forward on the Patriots’ basketball team, which Cassity also coaches.
Hart was honored at Truman High School Monday morning for winning the long jump. She joined Truman senior Paige Parker, who will play softball at the University of Oklahoma, in a ceremony in which Parker was named the Missouri Gatorade Player of the Year for the third time.
“Lexi is such a hard worker,” Truman volleyball coach Denise Craig said. “Her work ethic – in all sports – is why she is so special.”
After the ceremony, Hart talked about the pressure that comes from winning state as a sophomore, her busy summer and how her mother helps deflect some of the pressure that comes from being a top national volleyball recruit.
Q: Since you won state after school was out, was it nice to be the recognized Monday morning at Truman?
A: “It’s real nice to have some of my family and my friends here. There are probably some kids (at Truman) who don’t even know I won state.”
Q: Looking back at state, how special was that win?
A: “Very special. I wanted a PR (personal record) in the long jump and I got it. Most people don’t know that track was my first sport. I started running when I was 5, and I started jumping when I was in middle school. This summer, I’m going to do some volleyball and basketball camps and try to get in a few track meets, too.”
Q: You set the bar pretty high by winning state as a sophomore. What about the future?
A: “I think the sky’s the limit. I’d like to win a state championship in the triple jump, and since I won the long jump this year, I hope to win it again the next two years, too. It’s all pretty exciting to think about.”
Q: You’re a state champion in the long jump, yet volleyball is your main sport. What has recruiting been like this summer and do you have any time to be a kid?
A: “That is a very good question. … I told myself I was not going to stress over recruiting until I was a junior, but I am kind of stressing – and I’m too young to get gray hair (laughing). I couldn’t handle it without my mama, my sister and my family. They give me a lot of support, they help me so much. I’m narrowing my choices down, but I don’t know where I’m going to school. I’m kind of taking a break now to be ready for school volleyball, because I played a lot of volleyball this summer. And I want to do some kid stuff. I think that will be fun.”