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East County Wednesday, Jul. 24, 2019 2 years ago

East County Athlete of the Week: Leland Wheeler

The ODA grad talks dodging defenders and the potential uses of teleportation.
by: Ryan Kohn Sports Reporter

Leland Wheeler graduated from The Out-of-Door Academy in May. The boys lacrosse player was named to Tampa Lax Report's All-Region team and will attend the College of Charleston (Charleston, S.C.). 

When did you start playing lacrosse?

In sixth grade. I played for Lakewood Ranch Lightning, which is now known as Monsters. I played with them until my ninth grade year, when I came to ODA and joined the SRQ Panthers, which is basically an ODA club team. I started playing because I wasn't playing other sports at the time. My family got a flier about it and I tried it. For the first three weeks, I hated it, but I kept going and eventually learned to love it. 

What is the appeal to you?

There is a lot of fast play. It is a physical sport with a lot of running. It's nonstop. 

What is your best skill?

I would say dodging defenders. I can draw a slide or take it to the goal and score. 

What is your favorite memory?

This year, we went on the road and knocked (district rival) Riverview High out of the playoffs (9-7 on April 16). That was a great game. 

What has been your biggest challenge?

The heat gets annoying during the summer. At tournaments, you have to convince yourself to keep going, to push through it. 

What is your favorite food?

The spicy chicken sandwich from Chick-fil-A.

Which superpower would you pick?

Teleportation for sure. You could go anywhere you wanted with a snap of your fingers. You could do anything. 

What is the best advice you have received?

My coaches always tell me to 'put the ball on cage' when shooting. That usually yields good results. 

Finish this sentence: "Leland Wheeler is ... "

... a caring guy. 

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I’m the sports reporter for Sarasota and East County and a Missouri School of Journalism graduate. I was born and raised in Olney, MD. My biggest inspirations are Wright Thompson and Alex Ovechkin. My strongest belief is that mint chip ice cream is unbeatable.

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