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Gambit pays off for Alexander with full track scholarship to SAU

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  • Feature Story
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  • By:
  • George Becnel
  • Posted:
  • April 12, 2017 - 10:27am

West St. John's Austin Alexander, the defending Class 2A 100-meter state champion, signs a full track scholarship Wednesday morning with Southern Arkansas University.

Austin Alexander will be trading in football cleats for track shoes, and that’s just fine with him.

Alexander, a multi-sport athlete at West St. John, signed a full scholarship Wednesday to run track at Southern Arkansas University.

“I actually prefer to run track, so it wasn’t that hard of a decision,” said Alexander.

Alexander chose Southern Arkansas over the likes of Arkansas State, Louisiana Tech, Southern University and Xavier.

“I felt like that would be the best fit for me for the next four years,” Alexander said. “That was the closest thing to home. I felt very comfortable with the university and the track program.

“It’s small, but big. It’s a small campus but everything is up to date and all the students are very involved.”

“He visited them and he liked what he saw and the way they treated him. I’m just happy that he’s happy, that his family is happy and he has an opportunity to go on and continue to do something that he really loves to do,” said Brandon Walters, West St. John’s athletic director and head football coach.

Alexander chose Southern Arkansas, a Division II program, over Division I programs such as Arkansas State and Louisiana Tech.

“It wasn’t really about D-I or D-II. It was about the school that was the best fit for me going forward,” said Alexander.

During the football signing period last February, Alexander, who played running back and quarterback during his tenure at West St. John, has offers from schools such as Louisiana College and Southern but opted to wait for potential suitors in track. The gambit paid off with numerous offers.

“Having a full scholarship was the most important thing. That was a big part of my decision,” said Alexander.

The defending 100-meter champion in Class 2A, Alexander is expected to compete in the 100 meters, 200 meters, four-by-100 and four-by-200 meter relay teams for the Muleriders.

In Alexander, the Muleriders will be getting a hard-working athlete, according to Walters.

“His work ethic is above and beyond most high school students that I’ve come across,” Walters said. “Generally, he’s working when everyone else is finished. He’s the first one there and the last one to leave. He’s truly determined. That kind of kid, with the work ethic he has, everybody better watch out.”

George Becnel | .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

George Becnel is an award-winning journalist and has been a sports writer and editor for more than 30 years.