After growing up with dreams of becoming a professional track athlete or basketball player, Lexi Hart was introduced to volleyball in the seventh grade. A life-changing day, she calls it.
Volleyball has consumed her aspirations over the ensuing four years — and Hart, a junior at Truman High School, has turned her attention toward landing a Division I scholarship in her new favorite sport.
This should help the cause.
Hart was honored Thursday morning as the 11th recipient of the Evelyn Gates Award, presented annually to the top volleyball player in the Kansas City area. Liberty senior Madison Duello, Lee’s Summit West senior Carlisa May and St. Thomas Aquinas senior Carlyle Nusbaum were also finalists for the award.
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Hart was presented the award during a surprise ceremony at Truman.
“I was so nervous, and then I was so excited,” Hart said. “I honestly didn’t know (I had won) until I heard my name. I wasn’t really looking for clues.”
After playing primarily as a middle blocker in her first two seasons with Truman, Hart moved to outside hitter this season, and the transition was flawless. She recorded 424 kills, 35 aces and a 35.6 hitting percentage.
“I wasn’t really as confident when I started playing there. I didn’t like outside as much,” Hart said. “But I finally moved out there, and I couldn’t stop. I loved it.”
Hart says she has started to receive college interest for volleyball, basketball and track, but she plans to opt for volleyball. She won the Missouri Class 4 long jump state championship last spring.