Mercer County two-sport athlete Lindsay Jessie to do both sports at Centre College

Published 1:00 pm Sunday, April 9, 2023

Lindsay Jessie isn’t a basketball player who also happens to be on the track team and she’s not a track standout who also happens to play basketball.

“I would just say I am equal for both of them,” said the Mercer County senior. “That’s one of the reasons I chose Centre College. I feel like I can do my best in both sports there and give time to both of them equally.”

Jessie averaged 9.4 points and 5.3 rebounds per game last season while playing in all 35 games for the 12th Region champion Titans. She shot 45.8 percent overall from the field for Mercer (21-14). She was second in the discus at the 2022 Class AA state track meet with a throw of 105 feet, 2 inches and seventh in the shot put with a toss of 31-2 3/4.

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“My sophomore year I started track basically as something to get in shape for basketball. It was not something I was enthused about,” she said. “My first practice after I was done running, I thought why not go throw this heavy ball (shot put). It was fun and I was kind of good at it. I’ve been pretty successful and I hope to win both events at state this year.”

Jessie started basketball at age 3 at the urging of her uncle, who was a coach in West Virginia. She said it took “lots of practice” to develop her shooting touch.

“We have a shooting machine at school and I would always spend hours after practice shooting,” Jessie said.

Mercer County basketball coach Hayley Spivey said it was fun coaching Jessie for many reasons.

“She is one of the most coachable kids you will find. She would run through a brick wall for you. You can’t coach that and that won’t change at Centre College,” Spivey said. “She makes mistakes. I would get frustrated but she just pays. She never has anything bad to say about anybody or anything.

“She came up really big for us in the regional and kept us in the championship game. A lot of what she did she did not get a lot of recognition for. She does the dirty work and seldom got the praise and glory. But she was a key part of our team.”

Jessie said she was just as happy getting the ball in the high post and dishing to a teammate as she was scoring. She’ll bring that same team-first attitude to Centre.

She has not talked about a specific role with Centre basketball coach Wendie Austin. Jessie just knows her goal will be to win a conference championship.

“I got to spend a night with the players and got along with them really well. I am really excited to be part of the team,” she said. “I went to several games and they like to get up and down the court. They don’t give up. They play very hard and fast. I really like that and it will be very similar to how we played (at Mercer).”

She has not been to a Centre track meet but knows plenty about the indoor track that is part of the facility upgrade at Centre.

“That’s going to be really nice and I think it will be done by the time I get to campus,” Jessie said. “I know the track teams have been very successful and have high goals which I like.”

Former Mercer County track standout Jasmine Claunch just set a new Centre triple jump mark with her leap of 39-10 at the Division III national championships. The junior was second at nationals in 2022 and fourth this season to earn All-American honors for the second straight season.

“I was not on the track team when she was at Mercer, but I would see her working out even after she graduated,” Jessie said. “I know she is very special.”

Jessie feels the same about the educational opportunity at Centre College.

“My career goal is to be an attorney one day. Centre sets me up for law school perfectly and I know what a great education I will be getting,” she said. “It’s the perfect distance from home. If I would like to go home, I can. But it is also just far enough away from home to be just right for me.”