(Editor’s note: Montana State University media release)
BOZEMAN — It’s been two months since his last competitive appearance and life after Montana State is still taking a bit of an adjustment for Alex Lewis.
At this time in the past, Lewis would start to feel the itch to get back into training. After five years as a standout on the Bobcat track and field team, specializing in the long jump and triple jump, Lewis has a different attitude towards being out of competition.
“It’s funny, it’s been awhile now since I’ve done anything,” Lewis said. “I was really hoping that my body would be feeling a little bit better by now. I’m sure with more time it will get better.”
For the second consecutive summer, Lewis has worked as an associate at an accounting firm in Portland. Last year, the rising MSU senior would have been looking ahead to his final year as a Bobcat. This summer, he’s looking towards his next set of goals which take place off the track.
Lewis was awarded as one of 126 student-athletes from all NCAA divisions to earn an NCAA Post Graduate Scholarship during the 2018-19 academic year. He was one of 14 chosen that were previously men’s track and field student-athletes and eight of those individuals competed at the Division I level.
The prestigious award has been handed out since 1964 by the NCAA Postgraduate Scholarship Committee. It rewards the Association’s most accomplished student-athletes based off their athletic and academic achievements, campus involvement, community service, volunteer activities and demonstrated leadership.
The award grants Lewis a one-time non-renewable $10,000 scholarship towards postgraduate study. The Moscow, Idaho, native has been accepted and will be attending the Wake Forest University School of Law this fall.
Lewis said he was fortunate to find out that he’d received Wake Forest’s presidential scholarship prior to learning of the NCAA Postgraduate Scholarship. He received aid in the form of academic and athletic scholarships during his time at Montana State, so committing himself to graduate school was his next step. Being informed in May of the NCAA’s award gave Lewis reassurance of his decision making up to that point.
“When I heard back from the NCAA that I got the scholarship, it was pretty much icing on the cake,” Lewis said. “It essentially alleviated any of the costs of going to school which is huge. I won’t be tied down, which gives me more freedom and allows me to pursue a career I really want to do.”
Lewis was a notable member of the Bobcat track and field team upon stepping on campus as a freshman in the fall of 2014. He improved each year of his collegiate career, making three trips to the NCAA West Preliminary Round and scoring points for Montana State at a variety of conference championships.
He saved his best for last with a breakout senior campaign.
Lewis became Montana State’s indoor and outdoor long jump record holder during the 2018-19 season, breaking the Bobcats’ oldest standing records in the process. He made his first podium appearance at the Big Sky Indoor Championships in February, finishing third in the long jump inside MSU’s Worthington Arena. He claimed a silver medal in the event at the Big Sky Outdoor Championships before narrowly missing out on a trip to the NCAA Championships, finishing seven spots shy of advancing by taking 19th in the long jump at the regional meet on May 23.
Although he won’t be competing in the athletic realm, his college career did have an impact on the graduate school process. Lewis said he saw the inherent similarities between track and field and studying law.
“I kind of thought I’d really enjoy pursuing a legal career because there is a competitive aspect to it,” Lewis said. “I kind of started to think about what legal work I wanted to do, it’s a lot more like consulting so there’s less of a competitive point in that.
“I think more than anything else, I’ll be competitive with myself and my classmates. Law firms are extremely selective, so I’ll have to make sure I’m standing out to people that may be recruiting me.”
Lewis has been an active member of Montana State’s student-athlete body and made an impact in several areas. He accumulated a 4.0 undergraduate GPA while obtaining bachelor’s degrees in accounting and finance. Lewis finished out his final year of eligibility at MSU earning a master’s degree in accounting during that time. He served as MSU’s Student-Athlete Advisory Committee’s president during the 2018-19 academic year and also worked as a graduate teaching assistant for the accounting program.
He was honored with several academic accolades as a Bobcat. They included eight Big Sky All-Academic Team selections between indoor and outdoor track and field, as well as being named twice as a CoSIDA Academic All-District honoree.
“I can’t really think of any other place that would have allowed me to achieve the same athletic and academic success, and build the same friends and relationships that I’ve built over the last five years,” Lewis said. “Between the coaches and culture that we had on our team, Montana State was the best fit for me. It gave me the flexibility to achieve everything I wanted to achieve. I couldn’t be more thankful for that.”