Lady Bearcats honor memory of Herbert Hoover’s Leah Strickland


GRAFTON—The Grafton High School Lady Bearcat Soccer team met up with the ladies from Philip Barbour last week, in a game set to honor the loss of a fellow soccer player.

On Wednesday, news broke that Herbert Hoover Girls Soccer Coach Michael Strickland and his daughter, Leah, were involved in an accident on their way from a match in Braxton County. 

The accident claimed the life of Leah, a Lady Husky soccer player, who friends and family said they would remember for her amazing spirit and shining personality.

To honor her life and memory, the Lady Bearcats and Lady Colts met at midfield before their matchup on Thursday to pray for Leah, her family, those who loved her most and for their teams.

“The unity between these two teams last night to honor an amazing young lady, that most of us don’t even know, was and will forever be, one of the most memorable moments that I will ever have as a coach,” expressed Lady Bearcat Assistant Coach Joey Haddix in a Facebook post.

The Grafton team hit the field, sporting wrist bands with #17 on them, in support of their fallen fellow soccer player. And although the matchup didn’t go quite how the Lady Bearcats had hoped, it was reportedly one of the best games of the season to date.

In a hard-fought battle, the Lady Bearcats fell to the Lady Colts 5-3, but sometimes in sports, it isn’t about the final score.

“We are very proud of each one of them, and we will continue to improve every practice and every game,” Haddix voiced.

He shared that Walt Lamm, one of the officials during the game, commended both programs for the display of sportsmanship he witnessed.

“The players from both teams displayed nothing but sportsmanship for their teammates and the opposing team’s players.  The players demonstrated what the true SPIRIT OF THE GAME means,” Lamm said. “Both coaching staffs need to be commended for the superior soccer programs they have created. Nothing but professionalism and sportsmanship. The atmosphere within the stadium was amazingly positive from fans to coaches, and of course, the players. Great job to these two programs! They are setting the standard for others to follow.”

The Lady Bearcats will be back in action tomorrow when they travel to Buckhannon-Upshur High School to take on the Lady Bucs. Action is set to begin at 7:30 p.m.

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