Alexia Chapman remembers what it was like two years ago when she first decided to try the hurdles at a West Forsyth track practice.
“I tried it one day, a tryout day, and somebody said I was good,” Chapman said. “I kept at it and got better, but at first, it was a big hurdle. I fell a lot at first, and at first, you’re scared of falling or hitting the top of a hurdle. But once you get comfortable with it, it gets easier, almost second nature.”
Chapman, a 17-year-old senior, now runs the 100- and 300-meter hurdles for the Titans, as well as spots on a variety of relay teams. Nursing hamstring and shin injuries last spring, she missed the NCHSAA Class 4-A state outdoor championships, a goal she’s set for this spring that requires setting personal records in both her favorite events.
“Alexia is a very versatile athlete for us,” said Nathan Newsome, the Titans’ coach. “She runs the hurdles, and she runs anything from the 4x100 to the 4x400 relays. The team voted her captain; she really helps us score a lot of points.”
Chapman started track at Meadowlark Middle School, in part because an older sister had run track there. The difference: her sister gave it up, and Chapman made it her sport. She started out as a sprinter and stayed one until the hurdles popped up.
The 300 is her favorite race, even though it’s her toughest.
“Sometimes I hate the hurdles, like with 100 (meters) left in the 300,” she said. “But the 300 is my favorite. If you mess up once, you still have time to make it up. In the 100, you have to keep your rhythm going the whole time. You can’t mess up.”
Chapman will attend Wingate University in the fall, with a goal of becoming a cell biologist and taking up a spot in a laboratory the rest of her life.
“I’ve really liked biology my whole life,” Chapman said. “I wanted to be a doctor or nurse for a while, then I got into some more detailed stuff in school. In AP Biology, we studied cell biologist, immunology, pathogens. I want to work in a lab and do experiments.”
First, she has a test to pass, and it’s not even on the track.
“I love to dance, and I take dance (at West Forsyth),” she said. “I’m working on a dance project right now, where I have choreograph a dance and perform in front of the teachers.”
Three questions for Chapman
Q: Who is the athlete you most admire?
Answer: Allyson Felix
Q: What is your favorite sports movie?
Answer: “Space Jam”
Q: What is your dream job?
Answer: Cell Biologist