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Lexi Lines hurdles her way to Niagara

BEAT THE CLOCK — Springville-Griffith Institute student Lexi Lines is pictured doing hurdles at a Frontier, meet as a junior. She has signed a letter to run track at Niagara University. Photo courtesy of The Springville-Griffith Institute Athletic Department.
SPRINGVILLE — Springville-Griffith Institute girls outdoor track Coach Mark Heichberger said that he first glimpsed Lexi Lines’ athletic ability when the student was a freshman, attending his physical education class.

Now, three years later, Lines has decided to continue with athletics, at Niagara University. The student is a senior at S-GI and recently signed her National Letter of Intent©, to run track at Niagara.

“It feels great, being able to achieve this,” Lines said, about signing the letter.

“Being able to play with this team and being able to compete at this level is amazing. I’m glad that I’ve had my coaches, my friends and family, to push me to go this far.”

The athlete said that she “tried everything,” growing up. She played baseball for seven years and did tap ballet for six years. She found an interest in volleyball and was called up to varsity, as a sophomore. She stuck with that sport, through her senior year.

She was named a first team all-star as a junior and as a senior.

During her senior year, Lines was named co-most valuable player.

Lines also gave basketball and soccer a shot, playing both for a year. Once she came to the Springville high school as a freshman, she also attempted softball. When she decided that this sport was not for her, she decided to give track a try.

“At first, track was just a way to stay in shape,” Lines said. “But, when I started getting first and second places at big meets and looking forward to practicing, to getting faster and [stronger], I fell in love. I’ve stuck with it for so long, because I’m passionate about it. Every day presents an opportunity to improve and I try my best, to take advantage of that.

“I want to be an inspiration to younger athletes to work hard, because it will pay off in the long run,” she added.

“It’s worth all the long practices and games, because someday, you’ll look back and be glad you did it.”

Lines has competed in indoor and outdoor track, for three years. Coach Joe Marvin coached the athlete, during indoor track, while Heichberger coaches her during outdoor.

In her first year of outdoor track, Lanes was a leg in the Lady Griffins’ school record-breaking 4-by-100-meter relay team. She also owns school records in the 100-, 55- and 50-meter hurdle events.

During Lines’ junior year, her 100-meter hurdle time qualified her for the state championships, where she finished 17th, in New York state.

She is a two-time captain of the outdoor team and also a two-time captain of the indoor team. Her leadership on both teams earned her MVP status, on both teams as a junior. She was named sprint MVP, this year, in indoor.

“Her work ethic and her determination to succeed is probably what sets her apart from everyone else,” Heichberger said.

“Obviously, she’s a natural athlete. I first saw that, during her freshman year, when she was in a physical education class of mine. She’s worked her tail off, to get to where she is now. She’s done a wonderful job.”

Heichberger and Marvin have sent eight athletes from both the boys and girls track teams to the college ranks, during the past four years. Lines will be the school’s ninth athlete, who carries this distinction, for the school.

Heichberger talked about the success in sending athletes to the collegiate level. “It’s really just the kids,” he said. “It’s the kids that put in the work and dedicate themselves as athletes. I think, once we had some girls go off to college and compete at the collegiate level, it kind of set the example for other girls to go. We’ve had a lot of good luck and success, sending girls to college. This is another success story.”

Lines said that she mulled over attending a number of schools, but her choice ultimately came down to St. John Fisher and Niagara College.

Niagara, a Division 1-A school, offered her a scholarship that other schools could not, because of National Collegiate Athletic Association regulations.

Lines said that she ended up choosing Niagara, because of the opportunities that the school will bring, its close proximity to her home and the scholarship. She said that, after taking an overnight visit to the university, she “loved it.”

The athlete said that she plans to compete in hurdles and sprinting events, while in college, but that coaches at Niagara would also like her to give cross-country a shot, as part of that team.

Lines talked about the increase in talent, at the college level, and the higher level of training will be required of her. “I think, with hard work and determination, I can really get up to them, in the next couple years,” she said, about adjusting.

“I’m going to have to dedicate all my spare time to track and working out. It’s going to be a lot of hard work. I’m definitely going to have much more of a workout and I have to push myself a lot harder, but I’m hopefully going to be able to be able to keep up with it.”

Lines is the daughter of Alan and Lisa Lines.
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