By Taylor Grafft
Senior Madi Sharp’s love for competition and hard work this season paid off last week as the track star signed her letter of intent for Texas State University. Sharp signed in the Liberty Hill High School Library on the last day of school Thursday in front of her friends, family and coaches.
“It meant so much to me having the people there that had been so much a part of my life for the last 10 years and longer,” Sharp said. “They’re very important to me. I just realize that without my parents, coaches and friends this would not have been possible. Getting to do the signing on the last day of school and one day before graduation was pretty cool, too.”
Entering into the track season, Sharp was unsure of how far her talents and drive would take her, or where she would end up for college. She was, however, confident that as long as she gave it her best at every meet, and continued to put her passion as her driving force, things would work out.
Throughout the season, Sharp continued to grow, mature, and get better at each meet. Coach Gretchen Peterson credits Sharp’s strong work ethic this season as the main difference from years past and a key reason why Sharp enjoyed so much success.
Sharp has always had natural athletic ability, but seemed to put it all together for her senior year with the realization that this would be her last time to compete in high school.
That realization and hard work helped Sharp reach the UIL State Track & Field Meet in Austin in May. She finished in the top two of the Girls High Jump at Regionals to earn a spot in Austin for the State Meet. It was a dream come true for Sharp and one of the goals she set for herself entering the season.
Making State also opened up more options for Sharp. Interest from schools in both Texas and out of state started calling to fight for her attention.
Sharp had always known she wanted to compete in track at the next level, but before the State Meet it was still unclear where Sharp was leaning to go. The senior said she was weighing three different options and was going to take her time to find the best fit in the weeks following the State Meet.
“I actually wanted to go to Texas State all along, but they didn’t really contact me until after the Texas Relays,” said Sharp. “My dad kept telling me to be patient and that most scholarships for track are offered in May and June. So even though I had other offers and a lot of interest from schools outside of Texas, I was purposely waiting as long as I could in hopes of them calling, which they did right after the Texas Relays.”
One of the biggest draws for Sharp was the location and remaining close to home. She says it was important for her family to have the ability to come and watch her compete.
“I like the fact that they are close to home so it will be easier for my family to come and watch,” Sharp said. “I went on a campus tour with the coaches and a couple of other recruits and I got to meet the athletes that had qualified for their Regional Championships. One of the girls was a high jumper and another is a heptathlete so I really enjoyed talking to them and got such positive feedback that it made my decision easier.”
That conversation with the girl who competes in the High Jump was also important because Sharp says she will be competing in both the High Jump and Heptathlon at Texas State.
The Heptathlon is a series of seven combined events that athletes compete in and are scored via a point system to determine a champion. Sharp will be competing in events such as the 100 Meter Hurdles, High Jump, Shot Put, 200 Meter Dash, Long Jump, Javelin Throw, and the 800 Meter Run.
Sharp’s father has been a positive role model in her life and was an important figure in helping her decide what to do for college and her future.
“My dad just wanted me to keep my options open as long as possible,” Sharp said. “He said it was all about having choices and not having someone else tell me where I had to go. Once all the offers were in, he said it was all up to me and that I should go with my heart and not let scholarship money be the deciding factor.”
Knowing that the State Meet won’t be her final time to compete at a high level was exciting for Sharp. Sharp also added that the idea of continuing to purse her dreams as an athlete was cool.
“It’s a really cool feeling because I feel like I can do so much better than I did in high school,” Sharp said. “The idea of continuing to be part of a team was appealing since I have been doing that since I was six.”
Sharp added that throughout the past four years of her high school career she has had tons of support and explained what she’s going to miss most about Liberty Hill.
“I will definitely miss my friends and my teachers,” Sharp said. “I will also miss my coaches. Coach Peterson, Coach Miller and Coach Junkin and I have had a pretty special bond over the years. It’s almost like they are a part of my family.”
Sharp said that once she arrives at Texas State in the fall, they start workouts within the first month. The training will be six days a week for two months before the indoor season starts.
Sharp says the idea of being more independent is intriguing to her, but admitted that she will still make her family a big part of her life.
“I am looking forward to getting out on my own and starting the process of being a college student,” she said. “I know I will still lean on my parents, but living day to day on my own is kind of exciting.”