Over the past four years, there have been many special athletes to walk the halls of high school campuses all across Scioto County.
However, there may not be one that embodies the community that he or she hails from more than Alek Blevins.
The three-sport athlete, who starred in baseball, basketball, and soccer over his four-year career at South Webster, was a lightning rod for the school in many facets. Immediately, his top-notch character and consistently high grade-point-averages come to mind.
His play on the fields and basketball court, however, weren’t too shabby, to say the least.
Four-year starter in all three sports. All-District Soccer Player of the Year. Two district championships and a district final appearance to close out his career, with one of the district championships being the school’s first baseball title ever in the sport. A 2017 SOC II Defensive Player of the Year Award. And last, but most certainly not least, three All-State accolades in the same season across all three sports.
It’s just simply a Blevins thing.
But Blevins argues that it’s a South Webster thing, induced by the culture that he has been immersed in throughout his lifetime.
“I feel blessed to be a part of such an amazing experience with such wonderful people,” Blevins said. “I wouldn’t be able to achieve the recognition that I received without the help of my family, friends, coaches, and my teammates. They have stuck beside me in all of the sports and sort of followed behind the leadership that was given. Many of the younger players have looked up to me, and I strive to make myself be the best that I can be to be the best example for them. The experience I have had playing with all of my teammates was truly one of a kind, and I wouldn’t trade it for the world.”
Much, however, had been expected from Blevins since the time he set foot on South Webster’s campus in 2013, when the youngster not only stepped foot into the starting lineup on the soccer pitch, but on the basketball court and baseball diamond, as well.
That demand could be tough for any person to handle. But a great set of classmates — including fellow three-sport athlete and four-year starter Shane Zimmerman — made the transition easier.
“At first, it was terrifying,” Blevins said. “The thought of taking over the role of older players made me nervous as to how they would react. Once I realized that they were fine with me playing in their positions, it was gratifying. I felt confident that I was good enough to be put in the positions I was put in. I did not really expect to be put in a big role, but I stepped up to the challenge and went with it. I felt humbled that the older players listened to me and took advice from me, as I did when they gave me advice. An experience in a big role really gives a lot to a kid and helps them grow up and become leaders and I’m thankful that I was able to be one of those kids.”
That transition helped Blevins become a force not only across the SOC II realm, but in the entire Southeast District, as well. Over his first three years of play, the standout athlete collected four All-Southeast District honors — including three in soccer — to set the tone for his younger classmates.
But despite his personal success, along with the success of all three units, South Webster just wasn’t able to break through as a team on the district stage. Up to the start of his senior year, the Jeeps hadn’t claimed a district title as a class.
That was something that the 5-11 sparkplug, however, was bound to change.
“Leadership,” Blevins said of what he felt he needed to bring to the table. “I felt that the younger players, as well as some of my classmates, needed some guidance as to what they should be doing on and off of the playing surfaces. I tried to be a perfect example in the classroom and in sports so that the younger players had an expectation to follow. If leadership was not what was needed, it was energy. I knew that I could be the spark of energy that the guys needed to pump them up, because I am always full of energy.”
It’s hard to be perfect. In fact, it’s impossible.
But Blevins was pretty darn close to it — especially during the fall of last year.
In fact, the senior, behind his 34 goals and four assists, was able to lead South Webster to an 18-0-1 mark in their first 19 affairs as the Jeeps broke through and collected a Division III Regional Championship before falling 1-0 in extra time to Zanesville Bishop Rosecrans, a perennial power in the OHSAA realm. Blevins won District Player of the Year honors as a result of his efforts throughout the year.
“(Corey) Claxon was able to really show us some of the moves and drills he learned in college to make us better,” Blevins said. “Those helped us in the long run to win our district title and give the opportunity for teammate Trevor Coriell as well as myself an opportunity to go on and play in college. They all knew the game inside and out and were able to show that through their coaching skills. It helps a team when the coaches have a history of success.”
Sports, however, never seems to come and go without some adversity.
And during the basketball and baseball campaigns, Blevins faced plenty of it.
After being part of a basketball unit that won four out of its first six contests, South Webster lost 10 of its next 14 affairs to fall way back in the SOC II standings. A similar fate happened during the regular season in baseball, where the Jeeps were swept by West and split with Northwest and Valley to fall out of SOC II title contention.
“In both basketball and baseball, the struggles that we had really challenged us,” Blevins said. “Of course, we already had high expectations in both sports, and a slow start was not what we had hoped for. We set a goal at the beginning of the season that we wanted to reach, and every time we would face one of our lows, it was a challenge to us to make ourselves better. We never settled to be just average. We wanted to be known as winners not only to our school, but to our community.”
Blevins, however, found a way to lead his team to greener pastures on both occasions.
After being relegated to play-in status on the basketball side, the Jeeps managed to battle their way to the Convo behind the pesky guard play of Blevins, who not only spearheaded a victory over Mowrystown Whiteoak in the sectional semifinals behind his five rebounds and two steals, but led the Jeeps to victory against two perennially tough squads in Peebles and Trimble to reach the Division IV, Athens I District Finals before falling by a six-point count to a historically tough Clay unit that reached the Division IV Regional Finals.
In baseball, it was the same story.
As the team’s leadoff hitter and starting catcher, the senior stronghold — who only gave up five passed balls in 168 innings behind the plate — sparked the unit in its latest version of postseason heroics, as South Webster defeated Trimble, Green, and Notre Dame by a combined score of 23-5 to take home the school’s first-ever district title in baseball.
“Overcoming the challenges that we were faced with was an excellent achievement,” Blevins said, “and I am super proud that we were able to do that, especially after the slow start that we had.”
But the expectations from Ryan Fenton and Ryan McClintic, Blevins said, never dropped off of the table — which speaks to how the pair won a state championship in 2006 as members of South Webster’s basketball unit.
“The expectations were high,” Blevins said. “They expected nothing but the best, and to be the best, it meant that we had to work hard. Since two of the coaches had a state title, they knew what it was like to go out as winners, and they wanted the same experience for both of the teams they coached. Unfortunately, we didn’t make it that far, but they did lead us to two district final games, one making history as our school’s first ever district title in baseball.”
For the rest of his life, district titles, player of the year awards, and even a college scholarship to Shawnee State is something that Alek Blevins can call his own.
However, the most special part about all of those accolades, to the 5-11 senior, is the community that supported him and helped him over the past four years as he broke down the barriers that surrounded those goals.
“Being a part of such a close community is special,” Blevins said. “Everyone cares about one another and wants to help out the ones around them. It really lets the coaches and players, as well as the fans, become one. We’re all in it for the same reason. I know that the community of South Webster has personally been a big factor in my life and has helped mold me into the person that I am today, and I believe that I can say that about many others. I guess the saying ‘Once a Jeep, always a Jeep’ really is true.”