Fairfax Student Athletes to Play at Collegiate Level

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Next year, several Fairfax student-athletes will compete at the collegiate level in sports including baseball, softball, cross-country and field hockey. These Rebels will be playing on teams that compete at the Division 1 all the way through the Division 3 levels.

These student athletes include Alex Maguire, committed to Virginia Tech for track and cross-country, Belton Bryan, committed to the University of Tampa for lacrosse, Mackenzie Burnett and Trisha Le, both committed to Mary Washington for field hockey, and Cori Black, committed to Christopher Newport University for field hockey.

Kiana Sherlund, shown with her parents, signed with the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill for softball. (Photo courtesy of Kiana Sherlund)

Kiana Sherlund, shown with her parents, signed with the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill for softball. (Photo courtesy of Kiana Sherlund)

Kiana Sherlund, a softball player for FHS, is committed to the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. She was named First Team All-Met in the Washington Post last spring. Sherlund signed her National Letter of Intent in the fall.

Sherlund received offers from five Division 1 schools, Washington, Florida, Penn State, Virginia and North Carolina, and chose UNC because she “just fell in love with [it].”

“It’s so similar to here, but it’s different. I don’t know how to describe it,” said Sherlund. “Their academics and their athletics; the combination of those two is something you can’t beat and they have so much tradition there so I don’t think anything could really compete with that.”

Sherlund has had to make many sacrifices in order to have the opportunity to play at the next level. Her travel team is based in North Carolina so she has to make many trips in order to attend practice and tournaments.

Because of the long travel time and the rare occasions that she sees her teammates, Sherlund said she enjoys her high school team more than her travel team. “I think that it’s so much more fun in high school because you see your teammates everyday,” she said. “You do things everyday with them. You go to school with them, you see them after school, you can go out to get food in between practice and school and stuff.”

Sherlund has already played her last game as a Fairfax Rebel; she will miss the upcoming season because of an injury. “In the summer I was whitewater rafting and I tore my labrum, and I had a piece of cartilage that was loose in my shoulder,” said Sherlund.

Kiana Sherlund believes softball is “so much more fun in high school” because she gets to see her teammates everyday. (Photo courtesy of Kiana Sherlund)

She had surgery on Dec. 24 to repair the tear and is currently in a sling for six weeks. She is also going to physical therapy to get mobility back.

This shoulder injury is not the first obstacle that Sherlund had to overcome throughout her life while playing softball. She switched her batting hand when she was 13 years old.

“Home plate to first base is 60 feet, and if you’re right handed you’re going to have to go a little bit farther,” said Sherlund, laughing. “It sounds like a dumb reason but softball has a lot smaller field than baseball and time is a big issue. If you can be that much closer it helps and I’m as good a hitter as I was right handed.”

Sherlund is looking forward to playing for North Carolina next season because of the level of competition she will face in the Atlantic Coast Conference. “They’ve got teams like Florida State, Notre Dame and Louisville that are really good at softball. I’m really excited to play against them.”

Christian Leckert, who plays baseball for Fairfax, is committed to James Madison University. A former football player, Leckert began seriously playing baseball in order to compete in college late in his freshman year.

Christian Leckert, shown with his parents, signed with James Madison University for baseball. (Photo courtesy of Christian Leckert)

Christian Leckert, shown with his parents, signed with James Madison University for baseball. (Photo courtesy of Christian Leckert)

Leckert will be competing in the Colonial Athletic Association conference with the JMU Dukes. His high school teammate, Jason Waldman, will also be competing in the CAA with the William & Mary Tribe.

Like Sherlund, Leckert will miss the time he spends with his teammates the most when he leaves high school. “Just being around all of the other players on and off the field and the trip to Florida every spring break [is what I’ll miss],” he said.

The process to play for JMU has been “fairly simple” for Leckert. “The recruiting coach kept up with me on what I needed to complete phase by phase to get into the school,” he said.

Leckert is looking forward to playing in college for the same reasons as many of Fairfax’s student-athletes: “meeting all of [his] new teammates and seeing what legacy [he] can leave.”

Additional reporting by Stephen McCarty and Ryan Kim.

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