For many student athletes, winning a state championship would be the apex of a high school career. Waynflete senior Leigh Fernandez is on number five. In the past three years, Leigh has been part of five state championship teams in three different sports: the lacrosse team sophomore year; the soccer, basketball and lacrosse teams junior year; and, most recently, the girls soccer team this past fall.
“It’s kind of amazing,” says Leigh. “I haven’t really thought about how many as they were happening. I just go through each season at a time.”
Leigh, who is captain of the girls basketball team this winter, keeps her athletic achievements in perspective as she looks ahead to college next year. She’s applied to several schools and is hoping to continue studying Spanish and languages. She knows that her involvement in athletics through the years has given her skills beyond the field and court – skills that have helped her budget her time, clear her mind and find her focus. “Sports gives you a nice way to budget your time,” she says. “Since you have less time to get your work done, you have to learn to be more efficient,” she says.
Leigh credits Waynflete’s team ethic for any success she has had over the years. Many of her teams’ wins have been come-from-behind achievements where the girls kept focused on the game and each other. “We have intelligence and desire. We stay together as a team,” she says. “Waynflete is really good at that – we stay composed and it’s expected that we stay together as a team. That’s what makes us successful.”
Leigh’s coaches, including Todd Dominski (soccer), Brandon Salway (basketball) and Cathie Connors (lacrosse), stress the importance of working together and supporting each other. “That comes from the coaches and the seniors on the team pass it down,” Leigh explains. “It gives you wins and successes, but off the court you end up with a deeper relationship with the coaches and players. If someone falls down or fouls and you pick them up,
you know your teammate will do the same for you.”
So far this season, the Flyers girls basketball team is 5/3 with many games to go. Leigh plans to just keep shooting and focusing on the next play. “It’s hard not to think about another championship, but I take it one game at a time,” she says. “We come at it as a team.”