Like her father, Nixa's Alexis Adams had to make the choice between being a dual-sport athlete or having a singular focus in college.
Doug Adams picked football and dropped track after his freshman year at Missouri State in the late 1980s. Alexis has put an end to her volleyball career and decided on track while also deciding on Missouri Western.
"I had opportunities to play volleyball and run track at smaller schools. But I like the (NCAA) D-II school size," Adams said. "Some schools were wanting me to run the 400, 800 and other events and run cross country, which I’ve never done due to volleyball. Missouri Western recruited me for the two events I’m most comfortable with.
"I think at the end of the day I picked track because it came down to the fact I’ve been running longer than I’ve been playing volleyball," she added.
Adams' passion for track was triggered by her father, a former sprinter during his prep days in Ponca City, Oklahoma.
"When I was in elementary school, I started to go along on runs with him," Alexis said. "From there, I developed a love for running. We started running the turkey trot and it became a tradition for us and we did some 5K runs."
Of course, Adams ended her volleyball career the best way possible, with the Lady Eagles capturing the Class 5 state championship last fall. She figures she might be too busy at Missouri Western to miss volleyball too much.
"I’ll miss volleyball occasionally. But I’ll be training for track year-round," she said. "There’s the indoor season and outdoor season. Conditioning will keep me busy and help me deal with missing volleyball."
Adams will join Ozark grad Morgan Doyle on Missouri Western's track team.
Adams' niche, as she mentioned, has been the 400 and 800. She ranks third on Nixa's honor roll with a time of 2:21 in the 800. Her personal record in the 400 was 1:01.
Adams dearly hoped to make a charge at the school record of 2:18 in the 800, set by Liz Reida in 2008.
"I’ve had that as my goal ever since my freshman year," she said. "After I got 2:21 my sophomore year, I was thinking, ‘Man, I can almost taste 2:18.’"
As a freshman, Adams was part of Nixa's 4 x 800 relay that was clocked in 9:50. She ran alongside Paige Sportsman, Mackenzie Ihasz and Kaitlyn Jones. As a junior, she combined with freshmen Alicen Ashley, Macey Kopp and Emily Harris to record a 9:57 and qualify for State.
The latter foursome had high hopes for this year, before the COVID-19 pandemic wiped out the spring sports season.
"After making an appearance at State last year, it was in the back of our minds to go back to State this year and have a shot at all-state medals," Adams said. "It’s a bummer we didn’t get to do that."
Adams established a reputation as a clutch performer in the eyes of Nixa coach Lance Brumley. He repeatedly tabbed her to run the anchor leg.
"I talked to coach Brumley about maybe switching to another leg in the 4 x 800 relay this year. But he said, ‘No, I want you to do the anchor leg,'" Adams said. "I’m kind of known for my last 100 and kick to the finish. Where we finished was all on me at the end. That always motivated me.
"Words can’t describe knowing that all the coaches in the stands are believing in you," she added. "The faith they had to put me in that spot time and time again motivated me. I always wanted to do my best for my coaches and teammates."