In the Spotlight

Cal & xav
As far as siblings go, Xavier and Callie Alston couldn’t be much more different when it comes to their personalities.
Xavier, a soon-to-be senior at Orleans High School, stays mostly reserved, but when he
does speak, he is full of knowledge. Sometimes he reads books of Greek mythology during bus
rides to away basketball games. He’s the type of person that is quick with a fun fact out of thin
air — like how and why natural predators in the wild have eyes that face forward and natural
prey have eyes that face out from the sides of their heads.
If nothing else, Xavier is unequivocally himself in the absolute best way.
Meanwhile, Callie, who just finished up her freshman year at Orleans, is more of a
straight shooter. She’s your typical teenager, the kind that hangs out with friends and enjoys
playing sports for her hometown Bulldogs, but she is certainly unafraid to tell you how she thinks
or feels about any given subject.
She’s the fearless type, stoic and able to stand up for herself in any situation.
However, no matter how they may differ in personality, there is one strong similarity
between the two siblings. Whenever they step on to the track for the Orleans boys and girls
track teams, they become fierce competitors in every event in which they compete, resulting in
some major accomplishments for both of them along the way.
This past track season, both Xavier and Callie advanced to the state finals at Indiana
University on June 2 and 3 respectively. Xavier, who had already qualified for the state
competition last year as a sophomore and already holds multiple school records for track and
field at Orleans, was a three-event participant at state this year in the 400-meter dash, high
jump, and long jump. Meanwhile, Callie, in her first season of varsity track action, qualified in the
high jump as well.
Ending their seasons by traveling up to Bloomington and competing against the best
athletes in the state of Indiana was an experience that both of the Alstons could agree was one
they cherished greatly.
“It’s something I enjoy doing both for myself and the community,” Xavier said. “A lot of
people, especially from bigger schools, haven’t heard of Orleans. It’s a big deal for such a small
town such as Orleans to have any athletes at state, so it’s exciting to have two athletes make it
this year.”
Though their final destinations ended up being the same, the paths in which Xavier and
Callie took to reach their ultimate goals were much different.
For Xavier, the prestige and overwhelming intensity of the state finals is nothing new.
However, after reaching the state finals in the 400 last year, he knew he wanted to up the ante
this year. He ended up doing just that, finishing 20th in the 400 with a time of 50.35, which was
just shy of his own school record time in the event. He also wound up 14th in the high jump with
a new school record mark of 6-6, while also finishing 25th in the long jump with a top leap of
Advancing to the state finals in three events is almost unheard of for most athletes
across the state, but that’s just what Xavier expected from himself. The challenge of improving
drives him to be better. While he undoubtedly possesses an abundance of natural ability, it’s that
work ethic that has stood out the most to his coaches as the reason for all his success.
“Xavier is such a gifted athlete, and he loves track and field,” Orleans boys track coach
John Smith said. “It’s really enjoyable for me to coach him and watch him compete. You can tell
that he likes it and wants to excel because he works at it and puts in time on his own to
Xavier’s work ethic has rubbed off on countless other teammates along the way, but
none more than his own sister. Though, like most younger sisters, she might not always want to
listen to the advice her big brother tries to pass along to her regarding their shared event of high
jump, Callie’s biggest motivation as an athlete has come from watching Xavier lead by example
and consistently achieve new heights in the process.
“Xavier is always practicing,” Callie said. “He puts out his best effort in everything he
does. Seeing what he can accomplish drives me to want to do better and compete harder.”
Callie has taken what she’s learned from Xavier and turned it into success of her own.
And as a freshman, that was much more of a challenge than it might’ve been for a veteran
athlete such as her brother, who has excelled in everything from track to cross country to
basketball during his high school career.
The beginning of this season was a little more tumultuous for Callie. More comfortable in
other sports such as basketball and volleyball, she had to take some time to figure out what she
was best at in track and field. Yet, once she realized the potential she possessed in high jump
and began to hone down her technique, she began to build on the things her brother had taught
It resulted in an 18th place finish at the state finals with a top jump of 5-4, putting her on
a similar path of success to that of her brother before her.
“Callie is a competitor and doesn’t like to lose,” Orleans girls track coach Jacob Smith
said. “She has a lot of ability and is just scratching the surface. She is very smart and
coachable. She can take instruction and apply it quickly.”
Though Xavier and Callie may seem like very different people, this track and field
campaign has shown there may be more similarities between the two siblings than what meets
the eye.
They are both highly-talented athletes, hard workers, furiously competitive the moment
they step on to the track or court, and as Xavier admits, a little stubborn when it comes to
receiving advice from one another on how best to maximize their track talents.
“I have tried to give Callie advice about track, but she’s not the type to want advice from
me,” Xavier said. “She, like myself, wants to figure things out herself and take stuff at her own
pace I think.”
However, perhaps the most defining similarity between Xavier and Callie is their passion
to always get better at everything they do. Representing their school and community of Orleans
is the biggest motivator to do so, but neither of them have forgotten what it also means to their
family as a whole — two Alstons making a name for themselves in the biggest way possible
when it comes to high school athletics.
And if this year’s state finals runs were any indication, there is more of that shared
success on the horizon.
“I think it is an amazing achievement,” Callie said. “It’s even better to be representing
such a small school in such a big way.