Survival of the fittest
Editor’s note: This is the final story in a four-part series honoring South Tahoe and Whittell high school athletes of the year. Today’s honoree is Lindsey Hitt of STHS.
The R&B super group Destiny’s Child has a hit single entitled “Survivor.”
That’s exactly how South Tahoe High junior Lindsey Hitt can be best described.
She has survived many obstacles to become one of the area’s most competitive athletes. That tenacity has earned her the Tahoe Daily Tribune Female Athlete of the Year for STHS.
During her three years as Viking soccer, basketball and track team member, Hitt has evolved from a do-it-all dynamo to a team-first leader.
Her evolution as an athlete can be best seen in the past three or four months. Since the end of basketball season, her coach, Tim Jaureguito, has witnessed a total metamorphosis in his point guard.
Hitt has abandoned her score-first, defense-last mentality for a more defensive mentality.
“Offense used to be her No. 1 priority,” he said. “She used to be concerned with how many points she scored.
“Since the end of the season, I’ve seen her concentrate more on defense and take what the other team gives her instead of forcing the issue.”
Hitt’s newfound faith in her teammates could also be seen during track season.
For someone who was solely concerned with her own performance, Hitt understood the importance of teamwork when she was part of a school-record-setting 4×200 meter relay team as a sophomore.
“As a runner, she was the type of athlete where we tried to find her niche,” Viking track coach Rick Brown said. “She was just on the brink of being a good individual competitor, but when she was of the relay team she just became a dominant runner.”
Hitt, along with Danielle Kelleher, Karen Dalmacio and Jackie Marshall, broke a 20-year-old school mark when they finished the 4×200 in 1 minute, 47.13 seconds.
Track, however, has quietly become one of her best sports. Three years ago, she went out for the team as a way to remain in shape for both basketball and soccer, but success has kept her coming back.
“Track was meant to keep me going, but it turned out to be the most work out of all of them,” she said.
That’s when competitive drive kicked in. Instead of being able to dominate the track world as she did in both basketball and soccer, Hitt had to hone her skills through hours of hard work.
“Soccer I would just play for fun and basketball has been something I’ve always done,” Hitt said.
Brown has also seen a change in her approach to the sport during her three seasons.
“When she was a freshman, she didn’t have much drive to work at it,” he said. “Last year, when she experienced success, it just made her work harder.”
However, as hard as she has worked at all three sports, Hitt also possesses a boat load of athletic talent.
She was able to play at a high level in all three sports, while not devoting a whole year to training for only one in particular.
“All my friends were playing club soccer after the (high school) season, while I was getting ready for basketball,” Hitt said. “They’d wonder why I wasn’t playing with them.”
The reason is because Hitt is at home on the hardwood.
“Basketball is the one sport where I push myself the most,” she said. “I would love to play in college, especially after playing for so long.”
While she isn’t being heavily recruited right now, Hitt will have a great chance to put herself on the national map this July when she heads, along with Amy Carter, to the Junior Nationals camp in Atlanta.
“If she gets with the right program with the right coach, she could have a great deal of success,” Jaureguito said. “Her time in Atlanta should help her a lot.”
Jaureguito knows she’ll make the most of her time there.
“Lindsey usually rises to the level of competition,” he said. “If she goes up against a great scorer, she makes it her personal goal to shut that player down.
“She says to herself, ‘You’re not going to score on me.’ It’s just in her competitive nature.”
Brown would like to see her come back for her senior campaign on the track as well.
“There’s not telling what this group can do,” he said. “They could rewrite another record that could stand another 20 years.”
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