The Leesville athletics program has always been known for its general success, but Cap 7 titles across four different sports is simply unprecedented.
Leesville’s gymnastics, cheerleading, women’s swimming/diving, and wrestling teams emerged as the Cap 7 champions for the 2017-2018 season. This overarching sweep of success is a true testament to the skill of Leesville athletes, as well as the prowess of its coaching staff.
This success was put on display at the Cap 7 wrestling tournament held at Leesville. Leesville wrestling placed seven athletes–half of its starting lineup–in the finals of the difficult tournament. As a result of the team’s hard work, Leesville won both the Cap 7 dual meet title(for the fourth consecutive year) and the individual tournament title. In addition, the Leesville wrestling team’s head coach, Jason Wyss, won the prestigious “Coach Of The Year” award.
The gymnastics team has seen similar success in their own Cap 7 competition–close victories across the board to cinch the title. With the shifting of teams from last year’s Cap 8 to this year’s Cap 7, the competition was significantly more diverse, interesting, and, of course, challenging.
“Throughout the meet, we really didn’t have any idea what the score was, but we knew it was going to be close,” said Liz Henshall, a member of the Leesville gymnastics team and junior. The team’s collective success is highly attributed to two factors: strong comradery and even stronger work ethic. “When you have a tight team of hard workers, you can work together better and, ultimately, win,” said Henshall.
And so the success stories continue to roll in, all with increasingly similar undertones. The Leesville coed cheerleaders garnered success in not only Wake County but going so far as to placing third at states.
Women’s swimming and diving experienced a similar crushing victory. Besting the competition was no longer a concern for the team–Leesville’s women’s swimming/diving team beat the runner-up (Enloe) by a whopping 160 points.
At some point, the success stories of Leesville’s champion teams all begin to sound the same; and the connection is as simple as it is essential. While each team acts independently of one another, they share a common unshakeable work ethic as well as a sense of community rarely seen in high school level athletics. With community comes unity–and as seamlessly as mortar binds brick, community binds teams.
It is the responsibility of the coach to not simply lead a team or teach a sport but to instill a sense of purpose into each athlete–a sense of purpose that drives the athlete to not attend practices and play games, but to attack practices and win games. That deep sense of purpose manifests itself in the form of powerful work ethic, a work ethic that runs deep enough to push each team to success time and time again.
While work ethic makes the athlete, it is community that binds the team. To have an interdependent reliance on one another can make a team fragile–or it can become that team’s greatest asset. To not perform to one’s fullest is to let down the team. Leesville athletes have no intentions of disappointing their teams, so they train and play with everything they’ve got. The community of a team can be the driving force behind the greatest of successes.
However, most teams in most schools have a strong sense of community, so why has Leesville been so successful across such a wide variety of sports? Leesville’s coaching staff takes things a step further: They don’t simply build community within their own teams but extend that community to all of Leesville. The idea of Leesville standing together under one banner–as one team–pushes all teams to new and unexpected heights.
The cheer team congratulates the women’s swim team on a conference victory? Now the swimmers have another team they can’t disappoint. The wrestling team gives a Twitter shoutout to the women’s basketball team for an overtime victory? Now the basketball team knows they have more eyes on them–more people they just can’t let down.
It’s a cycle of community influence making each team push themselves harder than ever before. Leesville’s recent athletic success in the Cap 7 owes much to the community building of its fantastic coaches and the unbroken work ethic of its athletes.