Altus’ Haley Leyja – Altus-Lawton-Ardmore Area Girls Track Poll Winner – Presented by Cameron Army ROTC

Altus senior Haley Leyja has competed in track and field since her eighth grade year after a coach was impressed with her speed.

“My seventh grade year I did golf and because I had an injury with my hamstring, I was in a physical education class where we were assigned to run a mile,” she said. “The track coach heard about my run and he said, ‘Leyja, you are a runner not a golfer,’ and I’ve been doing it ever since.”

Now, Leyja competes in the 3200 relay, 800, 400, and 1600 relay. She enjoys them all, but says if she has to pick a favorite it would be the open 800. In addition to track, she plays basketball and ran cross-country for the first time this year. She is also the school mascot and a commissioner for Link Crew, an organization that helps freshmen with the transition to junior high to high school. Her teammates and those in the Altus community are also a big part of what Leyja enjoys about athletics.

“What I like most about competing for my high school and community is we all come together as a family,” she said. “We motivate and encourage each other to bring the best out of each other.”

Leyja will be sad to say goodbye to her fellow Bulldogs, but she hasn’t let that get in the way of enjoying her final season.

“This season has been very emotional for me because it’s my senior year but I don’t let that get in the away from the great season we are having!” she said.

Leyja aims high in life and has a drive to succeed, which she attributes to both of her parents.

“What motivates me to be the best in and out of my athletics would be my parents,” she said. “There is an ongoing conversation in my household that I get my athleticism from my father and my intelligence from my mother. Therefore I strive to be the best in everything I do.”

Leyja also looks up to her grandmother as a role model.

“She has beat cancer three times,” she said. “She’s a fighter and a very strong person and I get my strength from her.”

After high school, Leyja will attend Wayland Baptist University in Plainview, Texas on a track and field scholarship and major in Pre-Med.