Tuesday, September 22, 2020

Sports Person of the Week

Koplas Was a Three-Season Stalwart at Westbrook

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Senior Lexi Koplas put together a great career at Westbrook High School that her saw make key contributions to the Knights’ field hockey, girls’ basketball, and girls’ tennis squads.

Photo courtesy of Lexi Koplas

Senior Lexi Koplas put together a great career at Westbrook High School that her saw make key contributions to the Knights’ field hockey, girls’ basketball, and girls’ tennis squads. (Photo courtesy of Lexi Koplas )

Playing one sport for any varsity team at the high school level is an accomplishment. Two sports? You’ve got some serious talent. How about three? Well, then you’re about as good as it gets and are among the top percentile of high school athletes in the world. One of those athletes is Westbrook’s Lexi Koplas.

Lexi is a senior at Westbrook High School who played varsity for the field hockey, girls’ basketball, and tennis teams during her time with the Knights. She was an All-Shoreline Conference First Team honoree with the field hockey squad last fall.

Lexi participated in a variety of activities to improve her skills in every sport. This included working out with field hockey teammate Avery Bauman, doing dribbling drills in her driveway, and hitting tennis balls against a wall that was built by her father.

“In this day and age of specialization, Lexi is a rare breed—a four-year, three-sport athlete in a small school athletic program,” girls’ tennis Head Coach Paula Fitzgerald says. “The best athletes in the school need to play in all seasons for the good of the whole athletic program. I hope Lexi realizes how all coaches appreciate her time and efforts.”

Lexi played several different sports, including soccer and track, while working her way up the ranks in Westbrook. When she started high school, Lexi began to focus on that ones that she wanted to pursue for the long haul.

“I’ve been playing field hockey since my sophomore year, when I made the difficult decision to switch from soccer, a sport I’d played my whole life. The team atmosphere of field hockey really called to me, and I quickly connected with the sport in a way I never expected,” Lexi says. “Basketball has never been my strongest sport, but I’ve always enjoyed playing for my teammates. Even without the best skills necessarily, I think it’s important to contribute what you can to your team, which is why I chose to play basketball all four years of high school.”

Lexi made the leap from the track to the tennis court in her junior year. Lexi decided to try her hand at tennis, because she wanted to play a sport that made her face a new type of pressure.

“I never played tennis before and wanted to see how I could push myself athletically,” says Lexi. “Tennis allowed me to explore an unknown sport while having fun, yet still pushed me to get better.”

Lexi has experienced many memorable moments with every team that she’s competed for at Westbrook. With the field hockey squad, Lexi and her sister, sophomore Bree Koplas, both scored goals in the same game—a moment that Lexi says was indescribable. Lexi also loved it when the girls’ basketball team earned a 55-37 victory over Wolcott Tech in the first round of this year’s Class S State Tournament.

“That proved that our No. 23-ranked team deserved to make it into the State Tournament,” Lexi says. “My new coaches [Frank Lyon and Jeff Petrillo] allowed me to believe in myself and my leadership abilities on and off the court. While I only had one year with them, they changed my outlook on the sport of basketball.”

Coach Lyon describes Lexi as a fierce competitor and a player who helped pave the way for Westbrook’s up-and-coming athletes. Lexi led the Knights as a senior captain during the 2019-’20 season.

“Lexi was a great captain for us this year. She really left whatever she had out on the court every game,” says Lyon. “Lexi was usually presented the challenge of guarding another team’s best player, and she never backed down. She loves competition, and her leadership definitely showed the younger girls what it takes to compete at the varsity level.”

Outside of sports, Lexi enjoys hanging out with her friends, doing her schoolwork, and taking a drive to see sunsets. Lexi is a member of the National Honor Society, as well as the Teen Leadership and School Climate clubs at Westbrook. Later this year, she will be heading to Indiana to attend the University of Notre Dame.

“I am going to be majoring in political science on the pre-law track,” Lexi says. “I want to thank my family for supporting me and showing up to all of my games.”

While field hockey may have been Lexi’s best sport, she certainly made her mark with all three of her Westbrook teams. Coach Fitzgerald says that Lexi’s motivation to be her best made her stand out among the Knights.

“Lexi’s natural leadership, work ethic, and ability to compete sets an example for everyone on the tennis team,” says Fitzgerald. “Also, Lexi is a great person. She’s funny and caring. I am so glad I had the opportunity to coach Lexi and get to know her.”


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