View on the online compilation of our brief articles on each winter sport, as seen on page 16 of Monday’s paper, below:
The Leesville swimming team has begun the winter with several strong performances, raising expectations for the remaining season.
“The team looks really good so far,” said Mollie Jewett, senior. “We’re working really hard at practice to be the best that we can be, and it’s definitely paying off at the meets.”
Both the men and women sides of the team have already earned second- and third-place finishes in non-conference meets. It’s a highly encouraging start to a squad who lost a number of seniors last year.
“We have some great swimmers, and everyone is very dedicated to the team,” says Jewett, “so I know we will keep improving and do really well this season.”
Leesville’s wrestling team has kicked into high gear. So far, their record is 3-4; the boys, however, are not discouraged by the losses and continue to work hard.
“This year we are hoping to win the conference definitely and just put as many individuals to states as possible,” said Tyler Ruff, senior and captain.
The team looks forward to their future competitions.
“I’m just looking forward to all the huge tournaments and seeing everyone improve and get better everytime,” said Ruff.
Winter track had their first meet on December 4. Many participating athletes use the season as preparation for spring track.
Emmanuel Musa, junior, is in his first year of winter track. When asked about winter track, he said, “It’s fun, it’s hard running out there in the cold, but it will get me in shape for spring track.”
Sean Nicol, sophomore, began winter track coming off a great cross country season.
When asked why he liked track Nicol said, “It’s a family… there’s nothing else like it.”
After the first meet, Leesville already has boys qualifying for states. Hopefully this is a sign of good things to come for Leesvilles track team.
For the Leesville Womens Varsity Basketball team, the opening weeks of the 2013-14 season have already provided more satisfaction than the whole of 2012-13. The squad has equaled last year’s wins with two victories in their first four games.
“I think we’ve worked harder in practice, and I think we’re…closer together,” said Zaria Maynard, senior captain, “so it makes us playing on the court 10 times better than it has been in the past.”
After letting two games against Apex slip away, the girls finally broke through with a one-point win over Smithfield-Selma and a seven-point victory against Green Hope. The leadership of Kelly Funderburk, sophomore, Anna Weeks, junior, Dana Worthy, senior and Maynard have helped the team improve tremendously.
“I think we worked really hard over the summer…We’ve already had a head start, so it’s been helpful in a lot of ways,” said Maynard. “I think we’re going to surprise a lot of people.”
This winter is a new season and a new attitude for the Leesville gymnastics team, which has switched coaches and gyms in hopes of a more competitive campaign.
“It’s a big improvement [over last year],” said Jami Bennett, senior. “We have a different gym now and better equipment, and it’s more…serious than last year, so hopefully we’ll do better.”
The first meet of the season went well, as Leesville finished in fourth place — a great turn-around from prior years. However, the girls are also enjoying the time to socialize and grow closer together.
“We go to our meets and just…talk and laugh and support each other,” said Bennett, “so it’s a really good group of girls all hanging out and being together.”
After placing second at the NCHSAA State Championship in November, Varsity Cheerleading is full of enthusiasm entering basketball cheer season.
Caitlyn Greene, senior, captained the team’s terrific performance. “Afterwards, everybody was like ‘Oh my gosh, I feel like I’m going to cry,’” she said, “because everyone thought they did a really, really amazing job. Our coaches and all of the parents said that it was one of the best routines we have ever done.”
The squad kept the student section engaged for 12 football games in the fall, but have now shifted their full focus to basketball. They’ll use the experience to prepare for the Wake County tournament in February.
“This year, the team has been a lot closer than in past years,” said a smiling Greene. “We try to do stuff as a team outside of practices…to get everyone more as a family.”