LEXINGTON, Neb. (KNOP) - Continuing to honor the Class of 2020 spring sport athletes, two athletes who have consistently excelled for the Lexington girls' track team are Madison Smith and Maddi Sutton.
(L) Madison Smith and (R) Maddi Sutton have been staples for the Lexington track program the last three years, with 14 total State medals between the two of them. (Credit: Patrick Johnstone/KNOP-TV)
Madison Smith has experienced a lot of success in her high school career. She qualified for the State championship meet all three years of her career, and medaled in every event she competed in, for 10 total medals.
"I like to continue doing it because it gives me a powerful feeling," Smith said. "I know I'm powerful on the track, and I know I made a name for myself, so it's super fun to watch myself get better every year."
Smith improved every year, and her junior year won four medals, three of which were gold. She won gold in the long jump, 100 meter, and 200 meter, and finished third in the 400 meter.
"My freshman year, I knew what I was doing, and I knew what I was there for, I just let the tension build too much because I wanted it too bad. Sophomore year, I wanted it way too bad, and my junior year I wanted it more than anything, but I also knew at that same time that I'm just going to have to let like my body control of my body control," Smith said
Smith said she pushed herself too hard her freshman and sophomore years, and her knee locked up in the 400 meter her freshman year, and she broke her wrist in the 200 meter her sophomore year, because she fell stretching across the line.
Smith said the physical part of track always came easy to her, but the mental part of running was what she had to improve on.
"I always had the physical part down. My mentality was the only thing holding me back, because I could perform at a high level, then I'd get to a big meet like State, and my mentality would just break down, and that's when I start performing really bad," Smith said.
Smith said her anxiety held her back a lot when she was younger, but as she has gotten older, she has improved mentally. However, there were still times where stress would get to her, but her coaches were helpful in getting her to calm down.
"They'll notice when I'm not acting like myself, and they know that day that if I don't start acting like my weird quirky self, then they're that it's not going to be a very good day for me. So, they always say, 'keep Maddie weird.'"
Smith had big goals for her senior year. She wanted to break the Class B long jump record of 19' 6.5", and wanted to run 24.4 seconds in the 200 meter, and 11.9 seconds in the 100 meter.
"It might sound crazy, but I feel like I really could have done that if I put my mind to it," Smith said.
When the track season was cancelled, Smith took it hard.
"I did cry, I will admit that, but that's because I'm super stressed all the time, and I go through panic attacks a lot, and track helps me because running and being physical, and working for something I know I can do is helpful to me," Smith said.
Smith will continue her track career, and attend the University of Nebraska-Lincoln next year. Smith said her family always tells her that she always wanted to be a Husker when she was younger.
"My younger self would be proud, I hope," Smith said.
Maddi Sutton started throwing in elementary school, but realized in the eighth grade that she had a talent for it.
"Both of my parents were throwers in high school and in college, so I just kind of thought that I was supposed to love it too. But as I continued, my seventh grade year was a little rocky, but my eighth grade year it just started clicking for me, and it was really fun to like have individual success in something," Sutton said.
"She is the most competitive kid I've ever coached, and never settles for second best. She's been a great contributor to our program the last four years," said Lexington throwing coach Mary Reimers. "She never wanted to settle for second best. Even though she was one of the best throwers in our area, she never wanted to settle to just be that. She want to be one of the best throwers in the state. She wanted to just get better and not settle for anything less than that."
Sutton qualified for State all three years in high school, winning four medals over those three years. Her goal for senior year was to improve her marks in discus and shot put, which are both school records. The cancellation of the season will not allow her to improve her marks, but she believes God has bigger plans for her.
"God closes smaller doors to open bigger ones, and that was just my hope. I'm actually going on to Doane next year for track and field, so I knew that it wouldn't be my last time throwing which also helped a ton. But, I just have a trust in God during this time, because if I didn't have him, I honestly don't know how to get through it," Sutton said.
Sutton believes her faith in God is what has helped her be so successful as an athlete.
"God is the one that's pushing me when I don't feel that I can get up and keep going anymore. God is the one giving me the patience to deal with my teammates when I get frustrated and they get frustrated. God is the one that helps me remember that it's not all about how I play, it's who I compete for. I can't I really can't imagine my life without Him," Sutton said.
Sutton has put in a lot of work in high school, and Reimers appreciates all that work
"She's just another coach out there. She would help the younger athletes and help them get successful, so I hope she knows that we're all very proud of her of everything she's accomplished at Lex, and what she brought to our throwing program, and as the track program as a whole," Reimers said.