Lexy Halladay loves “The X-Files.”
It makes sense the Mountain View track star is drawn to a television show that deals with the unexplained. She fits the bill herself.
The junior took first 11 different times this season, including winning state championships in the 800-, 1,600- and 3,200-meter runs. Her 1,600 state final time of 4 minutes, 43.74 seconds was the fastest in the nation at one point by a girls high school runner. It’s still the seventh-best time in the country.
For these achievements, Halladay is the 2018-19 Idaho Press’ Sports Stars Girls Track and Field Athlete of the Year.
“Rarely do you get a kid who is this talented and loves to work,” Mountain View assistant track coach Tracy Harris said. “Above anything else, she loves to compete and she loves to race. And that is what’s going to take her to the next level. I’m talking about a year from now qualifying for the Olympic Trials. Who knows, she could be on an Olympic team. She is that kind of an athlete.”
But the extraordinary year almost didn’t happen in the first place.
Halladay felt something while running at the Simplot Games in Pocatello on Feb. 16. It was a familiar, yet heartbreaking feeling.
It was another stress fracture. It was in her right shin this time around.
But Halladay refused to believe it. She even hid it from her parents for a week and a half.
Halladay still denied something was wrong after being caught limping by her father during a hill workout. She confessed the very next day by calling her father in tears.
“Oh my gosh I was so mad. When I got home I sat on the couch and just started yelling,” Halladay said. “I’ve always known what I’m capable of. And I’ve always had the fear of not reaching my full potential.
“It was definitely hard. But quitting never crossed my mind. Just because when I am feeling good, I love running. It’s so fun. But it’s definitely been mean to me. It’s a bully.”
The injury caused her to go back to cross-training on the elliptical and bicycle. It also resulted in Halladay missing the first four meets of the season.
Her first race came at the Nike Boise Relays at Dona Larsen Park on April 6. She broke her own records with wins in the 800 and 1,600.
That was only the beginning.
She posted five more wins and had the state’s best times in the 1,600 and 3,200 heading into the 5A District III Championships on May 9-10 at Centennial High.
However, Halladay almost didn’t make it there.
The day after putting down what was the state’s best time in the mile of 4:46.98 at the Nike/Jesuit Twilight Relays in Portland, Oregon, the top of her right foot was in excruciating pain.
It was a foot contusion.
“It felt like someone was just putting a nail in my foot,” Halladay said. “I don’t know if I tied my shoe too tight or something. My body just hates me.”
Halladay couldn’t even run on a weightless treadmill. So she contemplated not running at districts and filing an exemption with the IHSAA to compete at state.
But Halladay didn’t want to leave it in somebody else’s hands. She qualified for state by finishing runner-up in the 800 and 3,200 before winning the 1,600 for the third year in a row with the help of some Advil.
“She’s able to harness the anger and sadness and put it towards her ultimate goal, which many people can’t do,” Mountain View junior sprinter Asha Byrd said. “She lets herself be emotional at the right moments, and when it’s time to throw the negative feelings away, she does it without hesitation. She doesn’t dwell on what could potentially hold her back, she finds new ways to hurdle over those problems.”
Halladay was back to her usual indescribable self the following week at the 5A State Track and Field Championships at Eagle High.
She started it off with a third consecutive win in the 3,200 by four seconds at 10:39.23. Halladay then won the 1,600 by breaking the all-classification state record with what was the nation’s fastest time at 4:43.74.
The 17-year-old capped it by winning the one championship that had eluded her — the 800. She did so with the state’s best time at 2:12.04. Boise’s Maggie Liebich previously had that distinction with a time of 2:13.98. It was the first time Liebich had been beaten by a runner from Idaho.
Halladay did all of this nearly a year to the day after a stress fracture in her left shin cost her the 800 and 1,600 titles to Liebich.
“Winning all three of those events, it was something else,” Halladay said. “Doing it this year meant so much more to me just because of the journey I had to take just to get to the race.
“I definitely wouldn’t choose to go through it again just because mentally it’s destroying. But to actually be able to do it, was pretty satisfying.”
With seven state championships and counting now, Halladay still has one more race left in her track season. She will run at the Brooks PR Invitational on June 15 in Seattle, Washington. Halladay took third there two years ago as a freshman.
She hopes for a better outing this time around. And there are reasons to believe she will.
After all, the truth is out there.
“One of my mottos this year was, ‘Prove them wrong,’” Halladay said. “Obviously, if you’re not running fast, they’re not going to write about you. I didn’t want any excuses. So this year I came back with a vengeance, and I’m a contender again.”