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Ferebee Runs Her Race


Ferebee2TrackMONTGOMERY – As the talk of Mission Bay High School in San Diego, Calif., track star Alexis Ferebee felt that she needed her own signature look.
So Ferebee matched her flash on the track as a sprinter with an outwardly flamboyant style in appearance.
She wore funky-looking socks, grew her nails long and always made sure to have them well-manicured. Her nails shined bright with bold colors.
The speedster also rolled out a variety of hairstyles including a wilder look when she got to Alabama State, sporting a mohawk. She even had a tattoo on her left arm.
On her feet, Ferebee usually wore her favorite running shoes – a loud pair that featured neon green laces and pink alongside the front and sides of the shoe.
Some people nicknamed her “Baby Flo-Jo” as an reference to U.S. Olympic Gold medalist sprinter, the late Florence Griffith-Joyner, for her distinguishable look and success on the track.
As Ferebee begins her junior season at Alabama State, she already holds an individual school record, is part of a relay team that holds another record and has a top-three time in a third event.
Among her accomplishments, she holds the school indoor record in the 400 meters at 55.27 and the third-fastest time in school history in the indoor 200 meters at 24.45, both posted at last year’s SWAC Indoor Championships in Birmingham.
Along with Kadijah Gordon, Kimberly Wedderburn and Tatiana Etienne, she’s also a member of fastest indoor 4×400 meter team in school history which clocked in at 3:42.54 at last year’s Tennessee State Invite in Nashville, Tenn.
“I’ve never been an aggressive person from the start, but that day I had to be,” said Ferebee of her 400-meter school record. “She’s [teammate Santina Williams] a strong 400 runner so I knew that I had to stay with her and trail. I believe it was one of the runners from the Texas schools got out quick and left me a little bit. I told myself, ‘Oh my gosh, come back (theoretically to the runners she’s trailing),’ because I know I’m a pacer.  I told myself, ‘Come on Alexis (in encouraging herself).’ I always remember during the straights, you have to go around. On the curves, it’s too late. It was the last lap. On the back stretch of the straightway, I made my move. Coming off the curve, we’re all together. I know I had a strong finish in me, so I’m told myself I’m taking the finish.”
To open the new indoor track season, Ferebee picked up where she left off with a rousing start in the Birmingham Southern Ice breaker on Dec. 5. She finished second in the 60 meter (7.67) and placed third in the 200 meter (24.79).
Up next, the track and field team will compete in its first meet of 2015 after a month-long break.  The women’s and men’s teams will travel to Birmingham to compete in the UAB Blazer Invite on Friday and Saturday.
While Ferebee is flashy in appearance, it’s ironically in contrast to her humble and soft spoken nature. Unlike many athletes, Ferebee said she doesn’t listen to any music in her preparation before warmups and a race.
Instead, she opts for silence with herself.
Upon joining the Lady Hornets’ track and field team, she’s had to learn how to become more aggressive.
“Alexis has turned into a really strong competitor,” said track and field head coach Ritchie Beene. “Our sprint coach LaShaunda Jones has done a nice job in getting her to be more aggressive.  She [Alexis] found out that we have a rich tradition here and we expect a lot from our runners. I always ask my coaches to be hard on the athletes. But I did let her know that everything was going to be OK.”
Admittedly, Ferebee said she didn’t have the freshman season that she wanted to have in terms of results.
During her first season, the coaching staff would tease Ferebee if they knew she had more to give when they told her that, “We’re going to send you back to Cali” if you don’t work harder.
“She [Alexis] sent me a card during the offseason between her freshman and sophomore season thanking me for sticking with her,” Beene said. “I wasn’t going to let her go. She knows that everything that I say and do comes out of love. I was just glad that she bought in.”
The tough start only made her work harder toward achieving her goals. With sprinter alumni Tia Rolle and Latrice Lee, as well as Jones in her ear about what she had to do in order to reach her goals, all that was left to do was the work.
Ferebee already had toned arms from her younger days competing in gymnastics, so now it was fine tuning the rest of her body. In the preseason, she started workouts at 5:30 a.m. with lots of conditioning.  In season, her workouts began at 11 a.m. and then she followed up with practice from 3-5 p.m. Working on getting a stronger lower body, she completed push jerks, hand clean weightlifting, and squat thrusts.
Midway through her sophomore season, Ferebee heard less and less teasing as she had earned her stripes with top finishes across the board.
“She has the potential to be at the top,” Beene said. “I always tell my athletes if they train to the max then records will take care of themselves. It’s impressive to me to watch how fast she can run with seemingly little effort. She seems so natural in the element of competition. When the actual product hits the track, you believe that this kid can be something really special. It looks easy, even though she worked really hard to get there.”
Ferebee said she feels blessed to have come to ASU and was guided along by her high school coach, who saw something in her, and her mother, who always offers her up encouragement to get out, travel and take opportunities when they present themselves.
Ferebee also points out that her teammates Gordon and Williams are a big help because they offer mutual motivational in pushing one another. She calls them “her rabbits” and ones that she always tries to keep her pace with come race day.
“I hope to be a role model for my teammates,” Ferebee said. “I always tell people to run their race and don’t be intimidated by other runners at the meets. Don’t overthink it; show a serious dedication, but have fun too.”