By Jeff Nations
Central track and field coach Rick Lytton marvels at the energy and enthusiasm apparent in Falcons freshman Lexi Keller each and every time she hits the track.
Keller's can-do attitude is inspiring, and her willingness to try new events a welcome attitude for Lytton.
Nevertheless, Keller could lodge a complaint if it were in her nature -- despite her accommodating style, Lytton has yet to allow her to run in the 100-meter dash.
"I guess I just prefer the sprints," Keller said. "I would like to try [the 100]. I guess I haven't run it yet because I started out running more distance events."
Listen to Lytton, and you get the idea that Keller's time will come. Right now, he's trying out the talented freshman in just about every event. That tinkering was on full display at last week's Shenandoah County meet, where Lytton plugged Keller into several events including the 200-meter dash. It was just her second time ever running that distance in a meet, but she won anyway. In fact, Keller finished the annual county meet with a girls' meet-high 14 points, helping lead the Falcons to the team title. For that performance, Keller is the Northern Virginia Daily's Female Athlete of the Week for May 5-May 11.
"She's very willing to try new events," Lytton said. "She gets a little nervous, but she's very willing to try them."
In the Shenandoah County meet, Keller won that 200 (27.70 seconds), scored a second-place finish in the 400 and also added a second in the high jump.
This season, Lytton has plugged Keller into every running event except that elusive 100 and the 3,200, and has sent her out as a long jumper and high jumper as well. It could well be that Lytton was making plans for Keller even before the season began. In today's Bull Run District meet, Keller is scheduled to run the 200 and 400, compete in the high jump and run a leg in Central's 1,600-meter relay.
"I knew about her from middle school track last year," Lytton said. "As tiny as she is, she was the No. 2 shot putter on the [Peter] Muhlenberg track team."
So far, Lytton has resisted the urge to send Keller down to the throwing area. That's not to say it won't happen sometime, though.
"She really likes track," Lytton said. "Some kids who do track come out just because they get talked into by their friends, but she really enjoys it."
Keller admits to the usual nervousness associated with moving up to the varsity level, but so far the experience has been great.
"It's just a lot of fun," Keller said. "The people are really nice. It's probably been better than I was expecting."
Contact Sports Editor Jeff Nations at 540-465-5137 ext. 161, or email@example.com>