Though Niesha Lewis has already become an accomplished track star at Hobbton High School while also being an All-County member of the basketball team, she thinks that she still has much more to accomplish.
Lewis graduated from Hobbton this spring and, while she is still undecided about her college plans, she has never stopped envisioning a high level of future athletic success.
“I want to go big-time,” says Niesha.
While some may doubt her ability to make it in athletics above the high school level, she has shown in the past a knack for proving people wrong by learning on the fly.
And Lewis has always been a fast learner.
When she was in just third grade, her mother Lucy Gonzalez became tired of Niesha performing her tumbling antics inside of the house.
“I said, ‘I’m just going to sign her up for gymnastics,’” said Gonzalez.
In her first competition with the Clinton Tumbleweeds in Raleigh, Lewis brought home a bronze medal.
Her quick learning curve was shown again seven years later when Niesha was a sophomore at Hobbton. She had played soccer in middle school and her freshman year of high school but, persuaded by coach Tim McDuffie, she decided to make the switch to track in tenth grade.
Her first meet was the Civitan Jamboree, taking place at Clinton High School in April of 2010.
Lewis ran the 100-meter dash, 100-meter hurdles, and the 200-meter dash and finished near the top in all three.
In her first-ever track meet, she was awarded the MVP.
Her success in track continued. Later that year she was awarded the Sampson County Sports Club Track Player of the Year. Her junior year, Lewis brought home first place medals in the 100- and 200-meter dash at the regional level.
“I just like competition,” says Lewis. “I want to go for it.”
Her mother claims to have known from an early age Niesha’s potential.
“I saw her doing relay races at field day when she was in elementary school,” says Gonzalez. “She would always come out on top. I knew she had potential.”
It would be almost 10 years later when Lewis would run in her first organized track meet, but Lewis had plenty of other athletic endeavors.
After picking up soccer at the recreation level, Niesha continued to play into middle school.
It was in middle school where she also received the first opportunity to play basketball. Basketball had always been her favorite sport but Niesha had to wait until she was a seventh-grader before playing an organized game. Once again, in her first year, she had no trouble getting the hang of the sport as she led her team to the Tri-County Conference Championship.
Lewis continued to play basketball and saw plenty of success. She was named to the All-Conference team all four years of high school.
Now, having graduated, she has her sights set on collegiate athletics.
While she is still mulling over her college decision and waiting for the best opportunity to present itself, Lewis is confident she can make it work.
And she is ready to face the challenge.
“When I was out here running track, Coach Tim really pushed me to do my best,” she says. “I don’t have them anymore so next year I know I’m going to have to push myself.”
As she looks for a spot on both the track and basketball teams, Lewis will again depend on her natural athletic ability that has helped her to make it this far.
“I know it’s going to be a lot of work,” she says, “but I don’t care. I love sports.”
While some may doubt her, that athletic ability has never failed her before.