Motivation keeps Neely on track for success

Inside a loud gymnasium on a February night, a spot in the district championship game hanging in the balance, Hailey Neely is lighting up the scoreboard in a tightly contested game.

She scores 21 points before fouling out of Navarre’s triple-overtime loss to top-seeded Pace. It’s a bitter end to an impressive senior season for Neely.

As hard as it was to walk off that floor one final time, she still had track season on the horizon. The potential ahead in that sport was seemingly endless. The success from basketball season provided added fuel for her high hopes in track.

“I felt like because I did so well in basketball, I could carry that over to track and dominate. I felt I could really show my full potential,” Neely said.

Neely offered up glimpses of her potential in track. But she never realized it fully after the COVID-19 pandemic brought the season to a halt in mid-March.

Initially, Neely thought perhaps there would only be a two-week layoff. In late April, the decision was made to not reopen schools, which also meant the end of the high school sports season.

Read the full article in the May 21 issue of Navarre Press.  Subscribe online at for as little as $38 per year.


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