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Austin Alexander never met a hurdle too tall. The Cienega standout hurdler overcame injury to find his way to the University of Arizona.
“Going into senior year Austin had sacrificed so much,” explained his mother Michelle Alexander.
“Training all year for track season. He got up at 4:30 every morning to hit the base gym before zero hour at Cienega. He was going in with wanting to break the 110 and 300 hurdles records at Cienega at the end of Junior year he was close. We as parents watched him working so hard and on the track he was looking super fast to us. We couldn’t wait to see his first high school meet. The day arrives and he runs the 110 hurdles and he wins, unofficially breaking the 110 record.”
It turned out Alexander coasted to the finish that day because he didn’t want to show up the other hurdlers. After some scolding from coaches and fellow competitors, Alexander figures to never do that again.
Then came the 300…..
“His 300 hurdle race comes up, his mom continued. “His dad is pacing. He has worked very hard with Austin with time, steps and touch down times. The gun goes off and oh my goodness he is fast and looking good. At hurdle number six he was on track to run a 37. He landed and twisted his ankle he tried to recover and twisted it again. The ankle bone hit the ground and he hopped to the side. We take him to the urgent care they say it’s severely sprained and he should be back in two weeks. We take him to the sports doctor the next day he says severe sprain, puts him in a boot and told Austin to come back in six weeks.”
Six weeks came and went. Alexander raced a couple of times for a shot at state after he and his father changed his steps to avoid landing on his left leg. He didn’t make it to state.
“The following week we took him to have an MRI and they found he had a break and little chip off the top of the talus bone. Well now we all feel just awful. During this he had been verbally committed to West Point. He had done all that was asked of him. Now he was waiting to get his paper work for signing day.”
But West Point had hired a new head coach and he wouldn’t sign off on Alexander until he ran a 38. No West Point.
“He is lost and doesn’t know what he will do,” his mom explained further. “He is still working through physical therapy to get back to 100 percent. He had done an unofficial visit with (University of Arizona) Coach Fred Harvey. He had told him let’s see your times for senior year.
“Austin was actually heading to Indiana Tech where he had gotten academic as well as a small athletic scholarship. He was ready to run for Indiana Tech when he ran into Harvey and asked for his advice. That talk is what got us to here.”
Harvey had seen Alexander race in club and at nationals so he knew the quality he was getting.
“As parents we are so very excited for Austin and so very grateful for coach Harvey. Austin’s Olympic dreams will start here as a Wildcat soon. We are very appreciative and proud and can’t wait for Austin to get his chance to shine. Bear Down Arizona!”
Alexander was our AllSportsTucson.com All-Southern Arizona First Team Hurdler.
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Andy Morales was recognized by the AIA as the top high school reporter in 2014 and has been a youth, high school and college coach for over 30 years. His own children have won multiple state high school championships and were named to all-state teams. Competing in hockey, basketball, baseball and track & field in high school, his unique perspective can only be found here, on AZPreps365.com and on the pages of the Vail Voice and the Tanque Verde Voice. Contact Andy Morales at AMoralesMyTucson@yahoo.com