Senior night is upon the students at Leeds High School (LHS). Wrestlers Brandon Franklin, Chandler Teems, Dawson Anderson, Jacob Gill, Ryan Dozier and Mat Maids Lindy Pilkington and Yazmin Folores have dedicated years to this sport and look forward to using the lessons they learned in their next stage of life.
Franklin began wrestling in third grade due to the encouragement of his older brother. After graduation Franklin hopes to continue to wrestle or become a pilot. Regarding the characteristics wrestling has instilled in him, Franklin said, “Wrestling has taught me how to be a man and that life is all about hard work.”
Wrestling since fifth grade, Chandler Teems started his time on the mats because his friends were wrestling. “Dawson (Anderson) encouraged me to wrestle,” Teems said. “Wrestling has taught me self-discipline, especially in terms of cutting weight.” After receiving his high school diploma from LHS, Teems plans to attain a degree in business and to fish for the college he attends.
Longtime wrestler Dawson Anderson also began his venture into the sport in third grade. Anderson loves that what makes for a successful wrestler is personal achievement. “Wrestling is a team sport, but at that same time there is an aspect of individuality to the game. What I do is based on my achievements. It’s about mental toughness and perseverance.”
After Anderson receives his LHS diploma he’ll make his way down to the plains at Auburn University. As for how wrestling will factor into his college life, Anderson says, “I plan to coach a metro team in Auburn.”
Like his fellow senior wrestlers, Jacob Gill has pinned and shown many wins since seventh grade. Gills says wrestling is about building a family.
“Wrestling helps get my mind off things,” Gill said. “It’s character building and I like how it’s taught me to rely on others.”
Ryan Dozier has been wrestling for the past five years. Dozier says wrestling is outlet that allows him to channel his energy. His favorite aspect of wrestling is the sportsmanship. After graduation Dozier plans to enter the Air Force.
Mat maids Lindy Pilkington and Yazmin Folores are essential to the team.
Seniors on the basketball court also recently celebrated Senior Night. Jared Jackson has played basketball since the ninth grade and although he’s enjoyed his time on the courts, after high school he plans to enter the ring to try his left hook in the boxing arena. Jackson has enjoyed playing with his fellow senior teammates and says the key to success on the court in talking to your teammates. His advice for young b-ballers is, “No matter what happens tomorrow’s a new day.” Jackson sites Lebron James as a player he finds inspirational both on and off the court.
Blazing down the courts for the past three years, Brentley Buzbee was encouraged to hit the hoops by his older brother, Devon, and his loved it ever since. Buzbee hopes to play ball at the next level in college and study sports medicine. Buzbee’s pre-game ritual is to pray before every game and his nerves don’t subside until right after jump ball. Buzbee’s favorite National Basketball Association (NBA) player is Kobe Bryant who retired after the 2015-16 season and played his entire 20-year career with the Los Angeles Lakers.
Isaiah Sharp-Perry has four years of hoops action under his belt. Sharp-Perry says having the opportunity to play basketball has made him smarter and he’s learned to work harder. “I love everything about basketball. There’s nothing like the feeling of being on the court and getting the win,” Sharp-Perry said. His favorite NBA baller is also Kobe Bryant because of his humbleness and poise. He likes Phil Jackson (former coach of the Chicago Bulls and L.A. Lakers, now president of the New York Knicks in the NBA) coaching style because as he puts it, “He’s a real chill coach.” His advice to younger players looking to sharpen their skill? “Stick it out and play. You never know what will happen.” Sharp-Perry will attend the University of the Cumberlands in Williamsburg, Kentucky, on a football scholarship.
Hillary Flowers plays center for Lady Greenwave Basketball team. She’s played for nine years and starting playing the game because her twin brother Jailen was playing at the time and it looked fun. Flowers looks up to WNBA player Candace Parker because of her work ethic and how she carries herself. Flowers plans to attend the University of North Alabama this fall.