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Girls Take the Field

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All summer three teenagers have put their heart and soul into preparing for the 2019 football season. They are strong, determined, and beautiful.

Meet Mary, Lillie, and Alexandrea, three girls are ready and pumped to get this season started.

Central’s Sophomore Mary Wilhelm returns for her second season. Her freshman year she played offense and this year she takes her spot on the defensive line.

Challenger 7th grader linebacker and right guard Lillie Swann begins her first season, and Nature Coast Tech Junior Alexandrea Florkowski returns for her second season as a kicker.

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Breaking into a male-dominated sport like football at any level takes encouragement. It takes a girl who has a strong support system to face any challenge. Each one of these girls has someone that motivates them, someone that encourages them to meet those challenges and to succeed.

Mary’s inspiration is her twin brother, who also plays on the team. He’s always been there to support her and provide encouragement. For Lillie, her uncle, who showed her perseverance. After he suffered a football injury, he pushed through those challenges and kept trying. He never gave up.

For Alexandrea, it was her middle school soccer coach, a female who also played football during high school. Her soccer coach motivated Alexandrea to consider playing football.

The motivation and inspiration is just the beginning for these girls. They also have to show that they can play and are serious about the game.

“I have to show them that I am there and they can trust me and that I am strong enough,” Mary said. 

It’s not only gaining their teammates’ trust; it’s also proving your ability to the coaches. Showing them, you can keep up with strenuous workouts, physical demands, and maintain mental focus.

Over the summer, the girls have proven to their team that they are determined to play. That they have worked hard, and they earned their spot on the 2019 roster.  

“It’s really positive, and they are always there to support me,” Lillie said. 

Mary, Lillie, and Alexandrea are great role models for young girls who are interested in trying out, and with that, they leave you with some words of advice.

Mary: “Be strong, be confident, and show them you are there to play.”

Lillie: “Don’t be scared, they are supportive of you, and they are like your big brothers.”

Alexandrea: “If you are really passionate about it, just go ahead and do it.”

The season is underway and these girls are ready to take the field.

Lisa MacNeil
Lisa MacNeil
Lisa MacNeil is a reporter for the Hernando Sun as well as a business technology developer, specializing in website development, content management systems, and data analysis.
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