Athlete of the Week: Lexi Koltz, Roosevelt High School
It's hard enough to win one state championship during a high school career, let alone three consecutive state titles. But that's exactly what this week's Athlete of the Week accomplished during her softball career at Roosevelt High School.
Lexi Koltz, a senior pitcher for Roosevelt High School softball, is this week's Athlete of the Week.
Koltz, one of the most decorated softball athletes in Roosevelt High School and South Dakota history, helped make Roosevelt the softball powerhouse it's known as today.
"Before this senior class, Roosevelt had never seen a softball title," said Roosevelt softball head coach Scott Roth. "Ever since they came into this program, they've raised the expectations of not only themselves, but that Roosevelt is a team that will work hard and do whatever it takes to win."
Beyond the talent and clear on-field success, her leadership skills have helped transform Roosevelt into a softball program that Roth said will never be outworked.
"We've set what I like to call a tradition of excellence where we will work harder than everybody else, and she's been a big piece of that ever since she's been a freshman here," Roth said. "She's been stepping into that leadership role, bringing this program up a level."
The Roosevelt excellence is established, thanks in large part to the hard work of Koltz. Along with three straight varsity state titles, Koltz and Roosevelt went undefeated in 2016. Oh, and the junior varsity team is enjoying a nice run of four consecutive titles.
Koltz commitment to excellence on the softball diamond started at a young age. Even during the 'coach-pitch' years, Koltz said she always wanted to play pitcher, standing behind the coach near the mound and fielding the position. She's been fostering a love for the game ever since.
"It's such a high energy game, and I love being out on the mound and having that control, going one-on-one with the hitter and competing that way," Koltz said.
Setting lofty goals for herself only motivated and pushed Koltz to better herself as a pitcher with each passing season.
"When I was about 12-years old, I think I really committed myself to softball and I really knew that's what I wanted to do someday," Koltz said. "I wanted to pitch in college and had kind of these big goals for myself. When I was 12, I really started to focus on those goals and get serious about softball."
Those goals are soon to come true. Earlier this month, Koltz signed her national letter of intent to play softball at Baylor University in 2018.
"I had been verbally committed for over two years and had been waiting and waiting for the signing date," Koltz said. "I went down there in the summer a couple of years ago and their coaching staff immediately made me want to go there. They were all so friendly, such great people down there, great coaches and I could tell they had their players' best interests at heart."
Baylor, ranked in the top-20 by both ESPN.com and USA Today last season, is one of the top-tier collegiate softball programs in America. The Bears have four WCWS appearances in program history, 2015 marking its most recent visit.
Glenn Moore, Baylor softball's head coach, recently called Koltz "arguably the best pitcher to ever come out of the state of South Dakota."
Congratulations to Lexi Koltz, this week's Athlete of the Week.