Injuries couldn’t keep McCartney McAlexander down.
Years of battling knee injuries that kept her off the volleyball court and track and field, McAlexander took advantage of her senior year and made it count when it mattered most.
The result: signing with University of the Incarnate Word, a Division I track and field program in San Antonio, Texas.
“The recruiting process was very stressful, and I was starting to lose hope until I went to an indoor meet in Albuquerque this January,” McAlexander said. “My marks were tremendously improved, and I soon got recognized by UNLV, Bradley University, Nicholls State, UC Davis, and several other Division I schools.”
McAlexander, who competed during the offseason before shining with the Greenwave, winning two state titles in shot put and high jump, decided on UIW because it matches her ambition of becoming a heptathlete.
“UIW stuck out to me because they have a good-sized group of multi-event athletes and I really like their coaching style. I also like that they have a wide selection of majors and the school’s location,” said McAlexander, who plans on competing in shot put, jumps, hurdles and 800-meter run.
Focusing on her final year in Fallon, McAlexander came back from two knee surgeries plus the pandemic affecting her junior year. She wanted to win state and then continue that success at the next level.
McAlexander won the high jump 3A state title by 3 inches in May, clearing the bar at 5 feet, 4 inches. She won the shot-put title the following day with a throw of 39-5. McAlexander finished third in the 100-meter hurdles in 15.85 seconds and fourth in the 800 in 2:27.06.
“Since freshman year, I had goals of being a state champion in track; however, I imagined it to be in triple jump,” she said. “Going into my senior year, I started picking up the heptathlon, forcing me to practice new events and I quickly progressed in shotput and eventually high jump. I never would have expected shot put to be a strong event for me but I’m happy I get to do many events.”
And McAlexander is officially in the record books in the shot put as she now holds longest throw (41-8) for the girls. Her state title in the high jump was also the first in school history.
“I wanted to be a role model for my team and prove that hard work pays off,” said McAlexander, who became a New Balance Nationals All-American Pentathlete earlier this year. “I am an example that it isn’t all natural ability but the work that you put in while nobody is watching.”
And it started with her parents, Brian and Heidi.
“My parents and my nana have played a huge part in my track career and I’m beyond grateful for them doing everything they can to help me,” said McAlexander, whose father competed at Western Colorado and introduced her to track at an early age. “From traveling by my side to meets and practice, they have been the best support group I could have asked for.”
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