Lekeyia Legare spent only one season with the AAU We Run It Track Club in the summer, but her ability to take the anchor leg of the 400x100-meter relay caught the attention of Bill Hodge the new head track coach for Belmont Abbey College in North Carolina.
Legare has been offered a scholarship and is headed to the campus just outside of Charlotte as early as next week.
"We ended up going to Orlando and a couple of days later I got a call from my coach and he said the coach from North Carolina wants you and he is going to call you in a couple of days," Legare said, adding she was still reeling from news.
"She was recognized by the school," WRI track coach Nathan Mims said. "I called the coach up there and the coach called her and the scholarship came from there."
Legare said she visited the campus on June 16 and was impressed by the size of the track field. The school is launching its inaugural track season this year and Legare is among the first to join the Lady Crusaders in their quest to reach the top of the Carolina Conference for the small Christian school.
"I am excited, but I’m a little nervous being away from home," Legare said.
The anchor runner said she plans to study physical therapy and knows college track will be a challenge.
"First I have to keep my grades up," she said. "Track doesn’t start until January so off-season I need to keep my grades up as much as I can…and I need to stay in shape and stay ahead of everybody else because track is at a whole other level in college."
"I am so proud of her and I appreciate everybody that stood by her like her coaches and some of the teachers at Bradwell," Legare’s mother Joyce said. "They were very supportive and I’m just happy that my baby is getting ready to go off to college with a scholarship."
Legare has three siblings and is the baby of the family. Joyce Legare said she plans to do her best to visit the campus for track meets as well as getting her youngest back home during breaks.
"I’m happy that she is getting this opportunity to better herself," Joyce Legare said. "Yes it’s tough, but I’ll deal with it because it’s what’s best for her."
For Mims he said it felt great that one of his runners earned a scholarship. The WRI team is in it’s second season and with Legare receiving a college nod the coach said it motivates him to make his squad better.
"It feels great and I can’t wait for the rest of them, the younger ones coming up, to experience the same thing," Mims said. "It makes me want to get ready for next year and see what it brings."
"Hard work and dedication gets you anything in life," Jessie Fleming, who coached Legare when she played basketball in middle school, said. "She was going to do something, all she had to do was put her mind to it and do her schoolwork and stay dedicated. And she did that she stayed focused."