MILWAUKEE -- Pardon Tracy McCubbin if she's slightly biased when it comes to Bradley Tech High School track star Elexis Fuller-Stewart. After all, McCubbin coaches Fuller-Stewart. As a former runner at Milwaukee Riverside University High School and again in college, McCubbin knows talent when she sees it.
"In high school, she has done things that no other athlete has done. Last year at the state meet, she broke 14 seconds in the 100 hurdles. She is the first girl ever to do that in the state of Wisconsin, so that was just mind blowing when she did it. It was just probably the best race I have ever watched. This year, she has already broken the indoor state record, so this June, at the state meet, who knows!" McCubbin said.
High praise for the young lady who's trying to lead the Trojans to their fourth-straight state crown. Fuller-Stewart's actions back up McCubbin's comments. At the state indoor meet in early April, Fuller-Stewart broke a 26-year meet record while repeating as high hurdles champ and then, she walked back to the starting blocks and won the 55-meter dash. It was two events and two first-place finishes in less than five minutes!
Fuller-Stewart says she knew she had a gift as a little girl. "When I was younger I always liked to race the little boys on the playground, (and I beat them) every day. My teacher always used to say 'wow, you're really fast,' and I said 'yeah,'" Fuller-Stewart said.
Even when she's airborne over a hurdle, Fuller-Stewart says she remains grounded. The records and championships are great, but there's more to running than just that. "Just the rush, and the excitement, and the smiles on people's faces - them cheering you on, and just the team atmosphere," Fuller-Stewart said.
Taking part in the hurdles is somewhat symbolic because Fuller-Stewart has had to overcome many hurdles in her life, but she has never changed from the sweet, young lady who knew she had a gift so many years ago. "I just like having fun and life is too short to be all angry all the time and not having fun and not enjoying yourself. I try to do it as much as possible," Fuller-Stewart said.
Fuller-Stewart's future includes college at the University of Illinois on a track scholarship and perhaps, in four years..."One of the coaches said 'hey, I will not be surprised if 2016 Olympics she's at the trials and maybe even competing.' With that extra collegiate-level training, I'm getting goosebumps just saying it. It's going to be phenomenal to watch," McCubbins said.
"It would mean a lot to me. That would mean everything to me. It would mean a lot. I would get to take my grandpa with me," Fuller-Stewart said.
The story isn't complete without mentioning Fuller-Stewart's grandfather. The former track star himself has been there every step of the way. "Grandpa is amazing. He is always there for me, even when sometimes I don't want him to be watching me when I am practicing he is there and he has encouraged me all the way through. He is my everything. He is my rock - my main support system," Fuller-Stewart said.
Some day, perhaps after the Olympics, Fuller-Stewart wants to enter the field of criminal justice so she can help people. She's already doing that - by being a role model, but she's too busy and too humble to realize it.