The Lynchburg College athletic department each week showcases a question and answer feature with our Hornet of the Week. The 34th and final student-athlete selected this year is women's track and field senior Leah Heal.
Leah is competing in her first national championship meet this Saturday, after qualifying with a career best toss (135'11") at the Virginia Challenge. The senior thrower won the Old Dominion Athletic Conference (ODAC) title in the javelin competition for the second-straight year.
How do you think being a student-athlete has affected you personally in your time at LC?
I always have emphasized how important my academics are. I never thought I would be playing a sport in college because I wanted to focus as much as possible on schoolwork. To my surprise, being an athlete and a student helped me to manage my time and excel in my academics. As a student athlete at Lynchburg College I have grown into a more independent individual. Since the first day I started throwing javelin, I haven't been able to stop. My passion for the sport gave me a space on campus to leave the stress of school behind and challenged me to push myself to the fullest. Through track and field I have met some of my closest friends and had some incredible moments of happiness. I wouldn't trade being a student-athlete for anything.
What is your favorite moment thus far as a Hornet?
It was the moment I threw my personal best distance in the 2013 season. When I walked onto the UVA track, I had an incredible feeling of confidence and excitement. We arrived five hours before my event, but sitting watching my teammate compete and thinking about how close I was to qualifying for nationals made the wait fly by. I had a great feeling from my very first warm up throw. On my third throw when they announced I had thrown 41.43 my heart jumped! By far as a Hornet that was my favorite moment. I felt that finally my hard work had paid off.
What are your aspirations after graduation?
This summer I will be completing an internship at a Lynchburg chiropractic office and volunteering at Campbell Country Rescue Squad. As for my plans after that, I will either be joining the Peace Corps or starting a Physician's Assistant (PA) master's program in the fall of 2014. My long-term goal regardless is to be a PA in an underserved population.
What are your expectations for nationals?
The Nationals meet holds a lot of potential for me to end my career with new accomplishments and excitement. Becoming an All-American and breaking the current school record in Javelin are without a doubt in my reach. At this point I have trained my hardest and fine-tuned my technique, from here on out I just need to give it the best I have, keep my confidence, and get pumped!!!