The only thing Lexy Boschee might struggle with in track and field is deciding which event to enter. Just a week ago she tried javelin for the first time and won – and she was injured. She has now placed first in five different events in her career.
But at least she doesn’t have to make these decisions entirely on her own. She has her dad right there by her side at all times, partly playing the role of coach but mostly playing the much more important role of father.
Boschee, a junior at Glacier High School, is the two-time defending Class AA high jump champion and defending triple jump champion. To go along with her two titles at last year’ state meet, Boschee also finished second in the 100-meter hurdles and third in the long jump. Her father Jerry is the head girls track coach.
Apparently, performing on the track is not a problem for Boschee. But when asked what her fifth event will be this season, since athletes can participate in up to five individual events at the state meet, she strains and hesitates. It’s one of the only times you’ll ever see Boschee look uncomfortable on a track.
“Maybe the javelin,” she said. “Or maybe the 300 hurdles.”
On April 12 at Kalispell’s Class A Invitational track meet, Boschee turned in a remarkable performance, winning all three individual events she entered, plus a relay. In the 100 hurdles, she beat standouts Deni Fitzpatrick of Cut Bank and Breanne Kelley of Polson. She won the triple jump by over a foot-and-a-half with a leap of 36-2, which is three inches better than her state-winning mark from last year.
Boschee won the long jump at 17-6 1/2, nearly two feet better than the second-place leap of 15-9. Boschee’s jump tied last year’s state-winning mark, set by Flathead’s Tess Brenneman. To top the day off, she helped Glacier win the 1,600-meter relay. And she didn’t even participate in her best event, the high jump.
But toward the end of the meet, Boschee felt an all too familiar pain in her shins. She has battled through shin splints for years and this time they grew too painful to ignore. Boschee didn’t participate in a meet for the next two weeks, nor did she practice except for messing around with the javelin for fun.
So when Boschee decided to enter the javelin event at the cross-town rivalry meet against Flathead on April 26, coaches didn’t expect much out of her first-ever attempt. On her first throw, she chucked the javelin nearly 100 feet. She won first place.
“It was definitely shocking,” Boschee said. “I wasn’t expecting that one and I don’t think anyone else was. My dad told my mom that I won and she just started laughing.”
The lesson should be learned: never doubt Boschee and never act surprised when she wins. Last year, in a similar scenario, she decided to try out hurdling and nearly ended up winning the state title.
This impressive versatility bodes well for a future as a heptathlete, if she chooses that road. Jerry said he and his daughter have talked about competing in the heptathlon in college. She still needs a lot of work before then, but the javelin is a good start.
“We haven’t quite got to the shot put,” Jerry said.
Boschee’s victory in the high jump as a freshman was rare. The skill required in the event generally excludes freshmen from winning, but by the time Boschee got to high school she was already somewhat of a seasoned veteran.
Beginning in elementary school, Boschee would follow her father to track practice. At the time, Jerry was the head girls coach at Flathead. She also went with him to volleyball practice.
“I’d just show up and waddle around,” she said.
Local track coaching legend Bill Epperly took note of the eager and athletic young Boschee, who had already been participating in the Highlander kids’ running program. Epperly started teaching her the fundamentals of high jumping.
“She was Bill’s little project,” Jerry said. “He took good care of her.”
Both Jerry and his wife Michele competed in track at North Dakota State University. Jerry jokes that his kids – Lexy, eighth-grader Cain and sixth-grader Zoee – “might not have had a choice” about participating in track, though he’s only half joking.
“Softball was never in the cards,” he said.
The Boschees are hoping that with the long rest Lexy will come back stronger and faster. She plans to enter a couple of events at the Archie Roe Invitational on May 7 at Kalispell’s Legends Stadium, but she’s taking a cautious approach to her return. She wants to be as healthy as possible for state on May 27-28.
Everyday, Boschee looks at an engraved plaque hanging on her bedroom wall that reminds her of the state high jump record. If she wins the high jump again this season, she’ll be shooting for four straight as a senior, which has only been accomplished once, according to the Montana High School Association. Amber Amsbaugh of Big Sandy won four classic titles from 2007-2010.
Also lingering in the back of Boschee’s mind is the possibility of winning four individual titles at this year’s state meet, or at least contending in all four.
If that seems like a lot to think about for a junior in high school, especially considering her genuinely humble nature, Boschee knows she won’t have to do it all alone. She’s happy that her dad is there for the ride, and he’s just as happy to be along for the ride.
“It’s the perfect relationship,” Jerry said. “I get to see her compete, I get to work with her a little, but ultimately I get to be her dad.”
Stay Connected with the Daily Roundup.
Sign up for our newsletter and get the best of the Beacon delivered every day to your inbox.