For our inaugural 'Senior Salute' piece from Ohio's 2020 grad class, we tracked down Alexis Thigpen to reminisce on her high school career with Gahanna Lincoln and to discuss what she's aiming to accomplish next year at Ball State University.
You experienced a lot of success at Gahanna Lincoln, both individually and on the team front. What's one highlight from each that stands out to you from over the past four years?
"Individually, my mental growth from freshman year to senior year was a big success for me and made the races I ran even better. Being on a team that wins the state title with strong, amazing young ladies for multiple years in a row is definitely one of the best highlights."
Do you feel like those instances of success always came easy to you or were there struggles and adversity that you had to overcome along the way? If so, what were they?
"It never came easy to me. Sure I was fast but I had a hard time with my mentality, especially in the open 400. The negative mentality I kept held me back on my goals, but once I got better with calming my mind my races became more enjoyable."
Over the last number of years, Gahanna Lincoln has been in contention for team titles in seemingly every meet they've entered. Aside from all the accolades that the Lions collected, though, what were some of the other great aspects about being a part of their program?
"The best part was being able to run with a team who's just as competitive and supportive of each other. Also, having coaches that always want to see you do your best and push you to achieve your goals."
We all know that reaching a high level in sports is rarely done alone, so who were some of the coaches and teammates that aided in your development as an athlete?
"Coach Whitt, Beck, and Steve helped me get there along with my mom and stepdad, LaChelle Thigpen and Marc Carson. My coaches helped with my training and did everything they could to help me get closer and closer to my goals. My parents were the ones who helped my mentality. They helped me to trust in my training, which I had a really hard time doing."
You're headed to Ball State University in Indiana and will be competing in track now at the college level. First, why did you decide on Ball State and what are some of your hopes and expectations for your time in Muncie?
"I decided on Ball State because I loved the team and the atmosphere. I felt like I fit in. Seeing that we're dealing with Covid-19, I hope to be able to get a feel of the college life before they may say to go back to online learning."
Now that you have four years of high school experience to draw upon, what's some advice that you could impart to a younger athlete who's looking to maximize their talent?
"I would tell them to trust in their training. Your mentality really controls how you'll perform. Nerves are ok, but don't let them take over your mind. Stay confident in what you do because you're there for a reason."
During your high school career, you contested events from the 60 all the way to the 800, plus several team-based relays. What event did you feel like you were the best at and what one was your favorite to line-up in?
"I was best at the 400 and 800 races both relay and open. My favorite races were the 400 and 200 relays and the 200 open. They were exciting and I felt less pressure with those races."