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Raleigh Bennett has fun scoring baskets for her school’s basketball team.
She loves to push her body to the limit in cross-country running.
She shoots around the puck in the Stephenville minor hockey system during the cold winter months.
Her summer is spent kicking around the soccer ball in the Stephenville minor program.
The 14-year-old Grade 9 student at Stephenville High loves to be engaged in a variety of sports. She wouldn’t want anybody to take away all the fun she has when she is doing her thing, no matter what sport she’s playing at the time.
“(Sports) create a second life for me,” Bennett said Thursday afternoon. “It gives me a chance to visit new places, meet new friends and try new things, even new food and that’s kind of cool.”
While she is in her comfort zone when she’s active, the girl who grew up in St. George’s knows her participation in sports depends on whether or not she keeps on top of things on the academic side.
Her mom told her, a time or two she figures, that if she wasn’t keeping up with her grades she wouldn’t be afforded the chance to travel to tournaments and enjoy the benefits she derives from being involved.
“What I’m going to end up doing in life requires a lot of school and if I don’t have the grades then I won’t be able excel and think about different careers,” she said.
Mom’s advice didn’t fall on deaf ears.
She has been on the honour roll for the past three years. She balances everything out by always putting the books first if athletics and academics clash on any given day.
Bennett is a member of the Stephenville High Spartans female basketball team competing in the Newfoundland and Labrador Basketball Association December Invitational this weekend in St. John’s.
It is a tournament that routinely features the top teams in the province. This year is no different as it includes Corner Brook High, Waterford Valley, St. Kevin’s and Holy Heart, amongst others in the mix for gold.
It’s the first test of the season for the Spartans, and Bennett believes the team is ready to give a good account of themselves. She believes the Spartans have a close-knit group who work together for one common goal and she expects to be competitive with everybody doing their best in the role they play on the team.
The daughter of Paul Hoskins and Krista Bennett had a hearty chuckle when asked about her height. She is small in stature, at five-foot-one, when it comes to the game.
“I can jump really high and I can run really fast, too,” she said.
It’s a great group of athletes who she enjoys sharing the hardwood with, so she’s just happy to play in a tournament.
“We get along like family. If there’s any problems with anybody we’re always there for each other,” she said. “When we play, we play as a team. It’s not a one-man show. We work together and make sure the outcome is how we want it to be, not just how one person wants it to be.”