VAULTER VAULTER

Sibling competition, desire to be best drives Weeks

Lexi Weeks owned the Arkansas high school track and field scene in 2015.

The Cabot senior won the Class 7A pole vault state title and the Meet of Champions pole vault title and then capped her stellar high school career by winning the 19th annual Arkansas high school heptathlon, edging her twin sister Tori by a single point in the final event.

That was more than enough to earn her recognition as the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette‘s All-Arkansas Preps Female Athlete of the Year.

Weeks broke her own state record in the pole vault at the Class 7A state meet in Fayetteville, clearing 14 feet. She also won state titles in the long jump and 100-meter hurdles.

Nine days later at the Meet of Champions in Russellville, Weeks cleared 14-2 to set the event’s record. She attempted to clear 14-7 1/2, which would have broken the national high school record of 14-7 1/4, but fell short.

But her most dramatic performance may have come five days later in the heptathlon, when her second-place finish in the 800 meters was just enough to hold off Tori, who won the 800, for the overall title in front of the hometown fans at Cabot’s Panther Stadium.

Lexi finished with 4,481 points to Tori’s 4,480.

Throw in the fact that Weeks set the national indoor mark in the pole vault in February by clearing 14 feet at the Arkansas Vault Club in Black Springs — which coincidentally was broken by Tori last weekend at the Arkansas Vault Club when she cleared 14-4 — and Weeks’ resume was more than enough for the award.

“She did everything she was supposed to,” said Morry Sanders, who runs the Arkansas Vault Club and coaches Lexi and Tori in the pole vault. “She’s had what I’ve called the dream season.”

Sanders said Weeks has come a long way, physically and mentally, since he began coaching her as an eighth-grader.

“She’s developed a confidence in her ability,” Sanders said. “She saw what some other girls were doing that were jumping a little higher than she was. She was like, ‘If they can do it, I can do it.’

“It’s that perfect mentality. There’s nothing she can’t do.”

Weeks, who will compete in the pole vault with her sister at the University of Arkansas, said she is proud of her final year at Cabot.

“I’m sad to see it come to a close,” Weeks said. “We had a good three years competing, but I can go 100 percent for pole vaulting [at Arkansas]. I’m ready to move on.”

The healthy competition between Lexi and Tori helped both of them, Sanders said.

“The only vaulter in the country to beat Lexi or Tori is their sister,” Sanders said. “That’s a huge motivation. You know your toughest competition is someone who shares your DNA with you.

“They have to have their ‘A’ game on, and they like that. Just one little slip and they’re in second place.”

Lexi Weeks understands just how important the presence of her sister has been in her success.

“When we vault in Arkansas, Tori and I are just vaulting by ourselves,” Lexi Weeks said. “It wouldn’t be as competitive if she wasn’t there.”

Weeks said her favorite moment of the 2014-2015 season was when Cabot finished second in the Class 7A outdoor state championship. Cabot led for most of the day but to come up a half-point short behind Bentonville.

“Overall, I had a really great season,” Weeks said. “The state meet, that whole day, it was a team effort.”

Weeks has even garnered national attention thanks to her success in the pole vault. She and her sister were profiled in a story that ran in The New York Times and in stories written by several national track and field websites.

But that notoriety hasn’t changed Lexi, according to Sanders. He said Weeks has no desire to just be average, and the attention she’s received drives her.

“She wants to be the best,” Sanders said. “That’s a rare quality. That’s sad to say that, but most kids don’t want to go to that level. She wants to go all the way. She wants to be the top girl.

“That’s the reason why they’ve excelled the way they have. I’ve coached hundreds and hundreds of kids. They want to do big things. I’ve coached kids who talk a big game — I want to do this, I want to do that — but they don’t want to do what it takes to get there.”

From: http://www.arkansasonline.com/news/2015/jun/21/sibling-competition-wanting-to-be-best-/?f=sports

Lexi Weeks

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