Favorite athlete: Wayne Simmons
Favorite team: Team USA
Favorite memory competing in sports: During my junior year: in field hockey, scoring the overtime goal against Council Rock South to win the SOL title, and in basketball, going on a long playoff run and finishing eighth overall in the state.
Most embarrassing/funniest thing that has happened while competing in sports: Tripping over air while running back on defense while playing basketball against Council Rock North and getting a huge burn on my leg. It was there for weeks and left a scar on my leg that is still there today
Music on your iPod: Alternative, rap, and country
Future plans: Going to play collegiate field hockey at Sacred Heart University while studying business law
Favorite motto or words to live by: “Life’s a stage and you only get one performance – make it a good one.”
One goal before you turn 30: To travel
One thing people don’t know about you: Ever since my sophomore year I wore the same headband to every one of my high school field hockey games and my entire team called it "the doo rag", it became my lucky charm that we all came to love.
By Mary Jane Souder
Easygoing and mild-mannered.
It’s an interesting choice of adjectives by Neshaminy basketball coach Joe Lally to describe a fiercely competitive athlete who – outside the lines – won’t shy away from a healthy argument and aspires to one day become an arbitration lawyer.
Perhaps it’s that remarkable combination that has made the Neshaminy senior so successful in every endeavor she has undertaken. Emily Alexis, it seems, is one of those rare student-athletes who has found a way to do it all while maintaining a perspective that is as unique as it is rare.
“She’s got great balance,” said Lally. “She’s a good example for all young kids of 'between the lines.'
“Between the lines of field hockey or basketball, she’s going to battle, she’s going to compete, and when the game is over, she’s just an extremely well-balanced, nice person.”
When it came time to present awards at the field hockey team’s year-end banquet, coach Jamie Pinto knew that the traditional awards didn’t encompass what Alexis meant to the team, so she created a new one just for her senior captain called the 3-D Award, representing desire, dedication and determination.
“That sums up her four years to us,” Pinto said.
For the past four years, Alexis has been president of her class, a position she uses not to exert authority but rather to get everyone involved. As captain of both her field hockey and basketball teams, she adheres to that same all-inclusive philosophy.
“She’s so good with the younger girls in the program,” Lally said. “She instantly makes a connection with kids and makes them feel as though they’re part of the team and equally as important when they’re young and feel that transition where maybe they can play but they’re not real sure socially how they fit in. Emily takes all of that away.”
“She gets along with everybody,” Pinto added. “Everybody has different personalities, and everybody is going through different things.
“Em always seems like the go-to person for everyone. She can handle different situations well, which carries over to her athletic abilities. She knows when to turn it on and when to turn it off. She truthfully is the nicest kid. In school, she is somebody the girls could always go to if they were having a problem. She’s just an all-around leader.”
Just as leading seems to come naturally for Alexis, so does incorporating the underclassmen.
“You have to give them the confidence to get out of their comfort zone,” Alexis said. “We’re not scary upperclassmen seniors. We’re here as a team, we’re a family.
“It doesn’t matter how old you are – be confident. We always tell them – if you’re in the game, don’t be afraid to shoot the ball. This is a team game. We’re not going to win it by ourselves. Everyone is involved.’”
Although Alexis is a mainstay on the Redskins’ basketball team, it’s field hockey that is her passion, and she has turned her ability on the hockey field into a scholarship to Sacred Heart University.
“She was our center mid,” Pinto said. “She didn’t have the most goals, she didn’t have the most assists, but we wouldn’t have gotten where we were without her.
“She leads the team top to bottom on the field.
“My parents (Carol and Gary Alexis) were really big on just helping me explore what I really wanted to do,” she said. “I played soccer, I did tennis camps, I did basketball, field hockey, lacrosse, I did gymnastics, dance, softball.
“They were all about me just figuring out what I wanted to do. They were just like – ‘Do what you love.’”
Field hockey and basketball were the sports Alexis loved, and by the time she entered high school, the other sports had fallen by the wayside. Hockey was a natural choice for Alexis, whose mother and sister both played the sport.
“I’ve been playing field hockey my entire life, and I just loved it,” said Alexis, whose sister Abby is a sophomore at St. Joseph's University. “I just never stopped having fun with it.”
Alexis, who competes with Mystx on the club circuit, was a four-year varsity starter and a key member of a pair of SOL National Conference championship squads as a sophomore and junior. Her resume includes a lengthy list of awards, and she was a two-year all-state selection, earning a spot on the first team as a senior.
“She works hard,” Pinto said. “She dominated the center, she didn’t back down from anybody. She was so aggressive, and everybody just feeds off of her.”
A three-year starter in basketball, Alexis was an integral part of last year’s squad that was undefeated in conference play en route to a title.
“She generally gets a really tough guard,” Lally said. “She’s generally guarding someone taller, maybe stronger than she is.
“She averages six boards a night for us, and she’s constantly on the boards and constantly battling in the post. She’s versatile. We’ve had her out on the perimeter guarding people.
“She’s a very good athlete, and she’s developed into a very good basketball player. She’s a great team player. She understands what it takes to play on a team and for a team to win. She’s a special kid, she’s been a special kid to coach.”
Although hockey comes first, Alexis commits time in the offseason to basketball as well.
“We work all summer,” she said. “We’re really a close-knit group of girls. We’ll go in the gym and shoot around. We do summer league. It’s a year-round thing like any sport.”
When she walks away from her final high school game, it’s not the championships Alexis will remember most.
“I’ll remember the championships, but I’ll also remember the bus rides and the little things we do,” she said. “Even now, we talk about last year – our long bus ride up to our first state game. We went out to eat, and it was girls being girls and having fun.
“For field hockey, we went all the way out to Lower Dauphin, and we spent all day playing games. It’s those things you remember – the long bus rides and all the fun stuff. It’s not just the championships. It’s the memories and all the great girls you meet along the way and the coaches that help you.”
Sports is just one facet of Alexis’ busy life. A member of the National Honor Society she boasts a 4.26 grade point average and is in the top 10 percent of her class.
“She’s very humble – if you look at her resume, you think who is this kid,” Pinto said. “She’s just an all-around nice kid – good athlete, good student, works hard. Everything she’s accomplished, she’s work hard for it.”
These days Alexis and her classmates are busy preparing for Gym Night, a unique three-day competition that involves weeks of preparation. Adding a two-and-a-half hour practice for Gym Night to her day after basketball doesn’t faze Alexis.
“I haven’t been to a lot of the practices, but the captains are so flexible with you,” she said. “I went early to practice today, and the captains are understanding and help you learn the dances. My partner – he’s great too. (Gym night) is really a big deal, but basketball right now is my first priority, especially going into the postseason.”
Ask Alexis about her responsibilities as president of her senior class, and she is quick to credit her four fellow officers.
“We’re all big on doing it together,” she said. “That’s one of the big things – let’s do it together as a team.
“Even though we’re not a team, we’re a high school, but we have to do things together. I can’t do things by myself. I need the class behind me to help me do it. It comes from everyone. I’m really big on trying to get everyone involved.”
Although it seems impossible that Alexis could possibly find time to volunteer, she does and points to the youth ministry at Langhorne United Methodist as playing a significant role in that aspect of her life. A recent trip to feed the homeless had an impact.
“I have to be so grateful for what I have,” she said. “We went to a church in Philadelphia and we served the homeless people.
“It just really opens your eyes how even these people are happy and are grateful for you to be there.”
Next year Alexis plans to major in business law at Sacred Heart, and she credits her dad for unwittingly guiding her career choice.
“We’re pretty much alike, and we’re both really stubborn,” she said with a laugh. “When I was younger, my mom would always say, ‘I want you to be a doctor.’
“My dad’s like, ‘She can’t be a doctor. She’s too busy arguing about other things.’ We always joked about that, and my dad would tell me I should be a lawyer. We looked into stuff. I’m really big on negotiating things with him, and he said, ‘You’re good at that. Why don’t you try it?’”
For now though, Alexis is busy making the most of her final year at Neshaminy.
“With her busy schedule, you would think she’s a person who could be on edge at times,” Lally said. “She has fun, she jokes with the kids. She’s great with the younger girls. She’s a team favorite, for sure, with her teammates.”