Alexis Gray had a stellar end to her college track career when she placed third in the nation in the 800-meter race at the Division III outdoor championships back in May.
Gray, a Washington High School and Wittenberg University graduate, will be recognized at the Homecoming game Friday night at Gardner Park when the Blue Lions take on the Westerville North Warriors.
Gray earned a Bachelor’s’s Degree from Wittenberg in May of 2020 and after taking a couple of months off from her studies, she returned to school in August and earned a Master’s Degree in data analytics with an undergraduate degree in marketing in July of this year.
“It felt really good,” Gray said, when asked about placing third in the nation. “I mean, obviously, I would have liked to have done better, but, that’s okay, I’ll take third. I’m very happy with that and I know my family is happy with it. It felt really good. I worked my butt off for five years and finally, I made it. The year of COVID, but, obviously, we got cancelled when we got there.
“That was my senior year and I decided I wasn’t ready to be done yet,” Gray said. “So, I came back and I was like, ‘I’m going to do what I told everybody I was going to do; I’m going to be an All-American and, I got it done.
“I’m really, really excited about what the coaches at Court House are doing,” Gray said. “It’s really cool to know that people there are still watching me, looking to see how I did in college.
“I really respect what everyone is doing, going out of their way to (recognize) the accomplishments that I’ve had,” Gray said.
At present, Gray is looking for employment.
“I’m just applying for jobs every single day,” Gray said. “Just hoping to hear back. I’m not particularly in a rush right now. I am young and I would like to travel a little bit before settling into a big job.
“Just to know that an offer was there would be really nice,” Gray said. “All I can do is wait and be patient and it will come to me.
“I would like to thank Coach (Louis) Reid and Coach (Tim) Walters for doing this,” Gray said. “I would like to thank my family for being by my side for everything. Also, all of my college coaches for just believing in me and knowing I could do it and telling me every day, ‘you put your mind to it and you’re going to be able to do it.’
“I would like to thank everybody, honestly,” Gray said. “The community in Court House is great. The family I made at Wittenberg was amazing and then just my own family, itself.”
“She specialized in the 800,” Washington boys track coach Tim Walters said. “That’s where she found success.
“I did not (coach her),” Walters said. “I had a little input; I was working with the track team back then. I was training (eventual State 110-meter hurdle champion) Caleb Wilt at that time.
“She had a great high school career,” Walters said. “Even though she was just maturing as a runner, there’s something to be said for going on to college and running there for four years. I’m so proud of her that she hung in there. She didn’t have much success early on, but of course, she kept plugging away. She was grinding it out and finally got it done.”
Walters said that Gray will be recognized between the first and second quarters of Friday’s game.
“She’s going to be presented with a plaque recognizing her accomplishment,” Walters said. “There will be one identical to it for the school’s trophy case, as well.
“There will be a reception area back behind the home stands where she will be,” Walters said. “There will pictures for her to sign for the kids. We encourage the alumni and the kids to come by and congratulate her.
“Alexis is on the United States Track Coaches Association All-Academic team,” Walters said. “She’s finished with her studies. Academically, she is solid.”
“Everything came together for her,” Washington High School girls track coach Louis Reid said. “She’s always had that ability. She has the ability and work ethic to be a college all-American. In high school, at different points, she had been ranked No. 1 in the state in the 800 her senior year in all of Division II.
“That race (at State her junior year) didn’t work out the way she’d hoped,” Reid said. “In college, things worked out really well for her. She had great training partners, she had a great coach and she just continued to excel. It was great to see her continue to grow and get even better.
“She’s always worked hard,” Reid said. “It’s amazing that she was third in the nation. That just goes to show how hard she truly worked to achieve goals she set for herself. She had a goal of being an all-American. She always worked hard in the classroom.
“She would come back and talk to our kids sometimes,” Reid said. “She would come back and work out. She did the extra things she needed to do to be a champion.”