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Westville’s Daxton Hembree – Athlete Spotlight – Presented By Edna Sells

“He’s probably the best athlete I’ve ever coached and certainly one of the top ones to ever come through Westville.”

That’s what Yellowjackets track coach Brendal Rector said about Westville senior Daxton Hembree who captured the gold medal at the Class 3A state track meet this spring in the high jump with a leap of six feet four inches. With that feat, Hembree was also named an All-State selectee in track to go along with his All-State pick in soccer where he plays goalkeeper. Additionally, Hembree was All Star by Class in football and an all-conference pick in baseball. AND he also plays basketball for the Yellowjackets and plays golf on the side. So how do you pick a favorite sport out of all of these?

“Most of my life baseball has always been my favorite sport but I excelled at football this year, so it’s taken over the number one spot,” said Hembree.

Daxton comes by his athletic prowess naturally from someone close to him that has also served as a role model.

“My older brother Dagan was also a pretty good athlete here at Westville and I learned a lot watching him while I was growing up. He’s also very smart and was Salutatorian in his senior class and is still a big part of my life today,” said Hembree who is also involved in student council and FFA where he showed pigs. 

Daxton’s journey for the gold in track almost didn’t happen according to coach Rector.

“Last year Daxton came to me and said he thought he wanted to try the long jump instead of the high jump. I had seen him dunk the basketball a few times and had a pretty good idea of his ability, so I talked him into going with the high jump. He got a late start that year because the basketball team went to state, so he only had about six weeks of practice and meets last year and still finished sixth at state. This year with all of his practice time available he went out and won it all. It’s a pretty big accomplishment considering he was juggling soccer and baseball along with track.”

As he leaves Westville, Hembree says he hopes that those who follow will recall more than just his athletic achievements.

“I don’t want to necessarily be remembered just for all of the athletics, but more as a good person that was always kind to the younger players and was a good role model in being respectful and setting a good example.”

Daxton’s future plans are unclear, but he thinks he might go to a junior college and hopefully play football and baseball and then move on to a four-year school.

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