Two fall sports doesn’t slow Burrell’s Brockett

Friday, October 30, 2020 | 6:39 PM

Leah Brockett has logged a lot of miles this fall.

As the top runner on the Burrell girls cross country team and one of the leading scorers on the soccer team, the freshman has made an impact while balancing both sports with her academic work load.

Brockett hopes to put a few more miles on her odometer Saturday at noon when Burrell, the No. 6 seed, faces No. 3 North Catholic in a WPIAL Class 2A girls soccer quarterfinal at Mars Athletic Complex.

“We are confident, but we want to keep a level head,” said Brockett, a forward who scored a goal and assisted on the winner in Tuesday’s 3-2 double-overtime victory at Mt. Pleasant.

“We know how good North Catholic is, but we will be ready to play.”

Brockett and junior Kaitlyn Postupack scored first-half goals against Mt. Pleasant and then helped the Bucs weather a Vikings rally. Postupack scored in the extra session to send Burrell into the quarterfinals for the second year in a row.

“It definitely was a roller coaster,” Brockett said. “It was a ton of relief at the end after stressing out the whole game.”

Bucs coach Frank Nesko said: “With 30 seconds left, Leah put the ball in a really good spot, and Kaitlyn was right there to finish it. Leah did exactly what she’s been doing all season for us.”

The goal was Brockett’s eighth of the season, and she has eight assists.

“I just want to make sure the seniors and everyone else on the team has as long of a season as possible,” she said.

As Tuesday’s soccer game progressed — Brockett played every minute of regulation and the two overtimes — she said she gave a couple of quick thoughts to her run 12 hours later at the WPIAL Class AA cross country championships at White Oak Park.

She fought off some expected soreness in her legs and ran the same White Oak course where she logged a sixth-place finish Oct. 22 in the Class AA race at the Tri-State meet.

Brockett finished 31st at WPIALs with a time of 21 minutes, 35 seconds, about a minute slower than her Tri-States time.

“(WPIALs) was a completely different atmosphere with how fast everyone else came to run that morning. I just wanted to enjoy it and run as best as I could,” Brockett said.

Burrell cross country coach Chris Letgers said: “Leah gave everything she had (at WPIALs). She went out hard and was in second as they came across the soccer field. But by the first turn, she was back in the 20s. We had hoped to cut a few seconds off her (Tri-States) time, but she kind of knew what was going to happen. It didn’t fall the way she wanted, but I told her that no matter where she finished, I was going to be proud of her, and I am. I’m also proud of her for how she has shown such dedication to both sports.”

Brockett began playing organized soccer at 5. Distance running came along in sixth grade. She cultivated her love of both the past several years and had no doubt she wanted to continue both in high school.

She said she had conversations about specializing in just one sport in the fall, but she is glad she chose both.

“I think she does a great job of balancing everything, including her school work,” Nesko said. “I always tell the girls that they are students first and athletes second. Her academics are at a really high level.

“It’s going to be fun to see what she is able to accomplish over the next several years in soccer and cross country and also what she will be able to do during track season. I coached cross country for 20 years at Northgate, and I know the sport very well. Distance running also is near and dear to my heart. Leah has everything you need to be a WPIAL champion and a state medalist.”

Brockett kicked off her busy fall season Sept. 14 in a soccer match against Highlands. She scored a hat trick, and the Bucs won 8-1.

“Right after that first game, on the way home, I thought a lot about my game and being able to play at this level,” Brockett said. “It was a great feeling to be a part of that varsity high school type of soccer that everyone talks about. I felt really comfortable right from the start.”

Michael Love is a Tribune-Review Staff Writer. You can contact Michael by email at or via Twitter .


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