Junior Zoe Grooms is a three-sport athlete for the Lady Yellowjackets but faces a bit of a challenge in two of those sports. She plays volleyball in the fall but plays the overlapping sports of soccer, where she plays center midfielder, and track in the spring.
“Sometimes my legs are a little dead after a soccer game and then I try to go do track,” said Grooms. So in an effort to help, track coach Brendal Rector has pared down some of her track events this year.
“She has run the hurdles and the high jump in the past, but this year we’re focusing just on the high jump,” said Rector. “She’s one of the most athletic girls I’ve had in my eight years here at Westville. Last year she cleared 5’1” in the high jump and she’s already hit 5 feet this year, so I think she’ll exceed last year’s mark. As a leader she’s been behind some talented folks we’ve had here but she’s starting to realize that the time has come for her to shine and while she leads mostly by example, she’s become a lot more outgoing and vocal over the last year.”
Zoe did gymnastics when she was little and thinks that may have later helped her when it came time to high jump. But her start in track was more of an escape than a passion.
“In first grade they gave us permission slips for track and said if we could get our parents to sign them, they would get us out of school,” laughed Zoe. “But once I got to junior high it became a more serious deal. I think my gymnastics background helped me in the high jump when they had everyone give it a try in the first grade and I was just really good at it. I think that’s why I like track best out of all the sports I do because it’s all on me and you can either jump that high or you can’t.”
Zoe’s role model in track is a not-to-distant former teammate of hers.
“Gracie Latta was a senior high jumper last year and she was someone I could always talk to and learn from.”
During the off-season Zoe worked on her long jump approach and steps with a goal in mind of jumping at least 5’2” this season and hopefully make it to the state tournament.
Grooms is also busy outside of athletics as a member of FCCLA, art club, National Honor Society and 4H where she shows dairy heifers. In her spare time Zoe likes to read, tend to her house plants and play sports with her little sister.