South Johnston’s Alexis Massengill wins in many areas

CorrespondentJanuary 27, 2014 

— Alexis Massengill’s best sport might be volleyball, although she averages almost a double-double in basketball, holds the school record in the indoor 500 meters in track and hit .350 in softball last season.

She is also:

• The South Johnston High student body president.

• Ranked No. 6 academically in the senior class.

• An exceptional dancer who takes lessons two nights a week.

• A former Wee Miss Johnston County, Little Miss Benson, Little Miss Johnston County, Little Miss North Carolina, Miss South Johnston and is the reigning Johnston County Outstanding Teen.

• Sings soprano and sometimes leads the hymns at Johnson’s Chapel Pentecostal Free Will Baptist Church, which is just a golf cart ride from the family farm where the family raises beef cattle and about a dozen types of vegetables.

“I canned some beans myself last year,” she said. “I guess that’s just the country girl coming out.”

Most folks would tire just reciting her activities, but she relishes doing different things.

“I like it that I’m a multisport athlete and a dancer, and not just a girl who can get down and dirty on the softball field but can also be prim and proper on a pageant stage,” she said. “I like to be the person you see in one paper being crowned and the next week going up for a rebound with some funny face.

“My dance teacher asked me if I could work out Saturday and I told her I had to work (at Belk). She said ‘Is there anything else you want to add to your plate?’ But I’m just saving up for college. I did gift wrap at Belk and they asked me to stay on. And, oh, I referee youth basketball and umpire softball.”

Massengill already is enrolled at Johnston Community College, but takes one course a semester at South Johnston to keep her high school eligibility. She has been offered a scholarship to Campbell worth $60,000.

A 5-foot-7, 135-pound senior power forward, she looks too small for the position, but she averages nine points and 12 rebounds. The Trojans are 13-4 and seeking their first conference title in 18 years. Massengill had a career-high 23 rebounds Jan. 17 during a 52-39 win against Western Harnett.

“Alexis has always been an individual who when she sets her mind on something and goes for it … gives her all,” said her mother, Audrey Massengill, South Johnston’s athletic trainer and a nurse at Johnston Medical Center.

“We’ve seen her work toward things and accomplish a lot. Her dance instructors say she’s a sponge. She can see it once and do it right away. She’s so organized, and she’s very much into detail.”

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New girls’ track coach Megan Jones asked Audrey how good Alexis was in other sports because she could be outstanding in track if she concentrated on it.

“Since she plays so many sports we have to share with basketball and softball,” Jones said.

On occasion, Alexis Massengill will win an event or two at a track meet in the afternoon and help win a basketball or softball game at night.

She is known for her competitiveness.

“Alexis plays a lot bigger than she is,” said basketball coach Ronda Langdon Johnson. “People think when they see her dancing or beauty-queening or walking in the hall with heels and her hair always fixed, she looks so neat and put together people don’t really understand how tough she is.

“She plays great defense, and she’s going to get a rebound if she’s within reach of it. I wish every athlete who came through here was that competitive.”

Massengill’s best sport might be volleyball, which she said she wants to play at Campbell – although she also has applied to North Carolina, N.C. State, Wake Forest and South Carolina.

“She’s got great instincts,” said volleyball coach Matthew Adams, whose team finished 13-9 last season. “And she was out at school during the summer when nobody else was here, running track or running bleachers. I mean, who does that?

“Who’s out there in the heat of the summer working alone to get better as an individual athlete? And she was our best player the past two years.”

Adams moved her from middle hitter to outside hitter for her senior year, and she had 227 kills with 53 errors on 490 attacks for a .355 season average.

South Johnston was 21-7 in softball and advanced to the fourth round of the state 3A playoffs last season. Massengill had two homers, 10 RBIs and was 6-for-6 on stolen bases in her first full season last spring.

“She’s a very talented athlete and she can play a number of positions,” said coach Mickey Bridgers. “ She has the ability to steal bases and also the strength to knock it out of the park.”

Track and field originally was an afterthought. She didn’t compete until she was a sophomore.

Now she competes in the 800, shot put and 3,200 relay.

Massengill plans to continue the pageant circuit, perhaps entering the Miss Johnston County or Miss Benson competitions.

When she’s older, she would like to be a district attorney. Her father, Jimmie Massengill, is a former highway patrolman and is a captain with the N.C. Division of Motor Vehicles.

“I want to be a prosecutor to help others who can’t help themselves,” she said. “I’m a huge ‘Walker, Texas Ranger’ fan and love Alex Cahill (played by Sheree J. Wilson) because she’s the district attorney.

“Also, my dad’s involved in law and my grandma was a magistrate. And my grandfather, Cecil Massengill, was a politician – Register of Deeds and County Commissioner.”

It’s all about simple but efficient time management for Alexis.

“I have my ‘second Bible’ – that’s my calendar,” she said. “If you saw it, you’d say ‘Oh my God, this girl’s crazy!’ 

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