Perry was one of the great track stars to come out of Jordan High School in Durham. After being named the News & Observer’s Triangle Area Female Athlete of the Year coming out of high school, she chose to attend NC State. The Nutritional Science major (also minoring in Psychology) has since become one of the elite stars of the ACC, both on the track and in the classroom.
Pack Pride recently spoke to Perry ahead of the team’s trip to Jacksonville to compete. The Wolfpack begins play on Thursday, with Perry beginning on hurdles on Friday. Perry discusses her journey to NC State and around the world, along with sharing her thoughts on which teammate she thinks can do well for the Wolfpack at Regionals and beyond.
Pack Pride: At what point while in high school did eventually attending NC State become the goal for you?
Alexis Perry: I got on NC State’s radar the summer before 11th grade because I went to NC State’s Then from there, my junior year was kind of my standout year and other schools started noticing me as well. I felt that NC State was always that one school that maintained their interest in me, really showed that they wanted me and it was just kind of a special thing for me.
PP: You graduated from Jordan High School in Durham, which obviously means you are near your family and friends. What does Jordan High School and Durham mean to you?
Perry: It means a lot. Anytime that anything is posted about me, they retweet it and still show that they care so I definitely feel a lot of sentiment towards Jordan. Durham as a whole, it just a supportive community. I always feel like I have them right behind me supporting me with whatever I do. [Her family and friends] get to go to a lot of my meets because a lot of them are along the East Coast.
PP: What did you know about NC State before attending?
Perry: I didn’t know a whole lot about NC State academic-wise. I depended a lot on the visits I took to school and seeing all the resources they had for academics really meant a lot to me because I knew going into college because I knew going into college I would need help.
PP: Obviously that has paid off as you have earned academic honors in each of your years at NC State.
Perry: That is one of the biggest things NC State has taught me that I think applies to the real world; you don’t have to do anything alone. It is okay to ask for help and most of the time you are going to get help. I learned that very quickly at NC State. My freshman year I had tutors for just about everything, even classes I was not struggling in. It meant the difference between getting an A- and an A+.
PP: You have also represented the United States and traveled to Colombia. How did that come about?
Perry: My coach told me my freshman year that if things go right this season, we will end up in some other country and I will wear the USA on my chest. Things lined up correctly, and I competed in Des Moines, Iowa and qualified for the team. I remember signing up and trying on the uniform and my coaches taking lots of pictures. I looked over to him and said ‘You were right!’ and he said ‘I know!’”
PP: What does it feel like to represent your country?
Perry: It makes me feel great. It still seems surreal even though it happened almost two years ago. When I look at the pictures and see USA on my chest and see that I was actually holding an American flag because I won for our country means a whole lot to me. I had never been that far away before, so that was definitely exciting for me. And then getting the chance to travel to a foreign country [Colombia] was even better.
PP: Who do you give most of the credit for getting to experience something like that?
Perry: I give NC State all the credit because because if I was not at NC State I am really not sure if I would have been there at all. I give a lot of the credit my Coach Coleman because he was the one that pushed me to compete in the competition that qualified me. I definitely give all credit to my coach and NC State for that.
PP: What is the relationship among student-athletes from different sports at NC State?
Perry: Everyone kind of keeps up with each other. It definitely means a lot because the football players know what you are doing, the basketball players know what you are doing, you make friends with the swim team and everybody is just asking ‘When is your next meet?’ and ‘When is your next game?’ and they are keeping up with you. They actually attend just about anything they can so we are definitely a tight-knit community.
PP: Do you feel you have what it takes to not only advance to Nationals but to also medal?
Perry: Yes I do have what it takes and I am definitely striving to make that happen.
Last year I didn’t have the best experience at regionals, so I am definitely hoping to redeem myself. I am not necessarily ‘striving for gold’ but just striving to qualify for Nationals--which is going to be top-12. I want to have fun. Our coach tells me all the time that we tend to forget that aspect, so I try to maintain that and always remember to have fun with whatever I am doing.
PP: Which of your teammates do you think my do well or surprise down in Regionals or at Nationals?
Perry: Jonathan Addison (junior long jumper from Raleigh Enloe). I feel he is constantly underrated or overlooked. With him, it just takes one jump and he is all the way in the mix. I definitely think he is someone that everybody needs to watch out for.