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ROLESVILLE — Three-sport athlete Sophia Sweeney recently won the senior Female Athlete of the Year award for Rolesville High School. Sweeney starred in soccer, cross country and swimming.
The senior athlete said winning the award is physical evidence that hard work pays off.
“It was awesome winning the award, because I was recognized for putting in so much work into being an athlete for the school,” Sweeney said. “I was being recognized for going to practice every single day and waking up at 5 o’clock in the morning in the summer for cross country. The commitment for all three sports all year long definitely paid off.”
Sweeney was born in Raleigh and then moved to Wake Forest near Jones Dairy Elementary School. She’s been playing soccer since she was 4 years old. Sweeney played middle school soccer at Heritage Middle, where the Patriots never lost a game while she was on the team.
“I love how soccer pushes me mentally and physically,” Sweeney said. “In my position, I have to sprint the entire field up and down. I just like the thrill of it.”
Sweeney moved to Rolesville five years ago and played sports at the high school since her freshman year. In soccer, she finished her high school career with nine goals and seven assists at the midfielder position. Sweeney said in order to get in better shape for soccer, she decided to run cross country during the fall and do swimming during the winter.
“I’ve always loved soccer,” Sweeney said. “In the offseason, I wanted to train for soccer. Cross country gets your stamina up. Swimming takes pressure off my legs, so I don’t have to worry about my joints.”
In cross country, Sweeney’s personal record time in the 3,000-meter run is 14:50.90. In the 5,000-meter run, her career best is 24:50.18. For swimming, Sweeney said she learned how to get used to it, but once she did, she performed well in the pool.
“My dad did swimming in high school and he encouraged me to try it out,” Sweeney said. “I didn’t know much about it. I learned a lot, but I definitely got into shape for soccer season because of it. Swimming uses every single muscle in your body. It’s a lot of work, but it was worth it.”
Sweeney signed to play women’s soccer at UNC-Pembroke on Feb. 8. The Braves have gone 37-14-4 the past three seasons.
She was recruited by head coach Lars Anderson during her junior year and then went on an official visit. After her visit, he made a verbal commitment to join the soccer program.
“The coach is super into soccer,” Sweeney said. “He’s fully committed to Pembroke. He lives here and makes the commute, so that’s how you know he’s committed. I like the smaller campus size and classroom size. I want my professor to actually know my name. The soccer players there were welcoming and very nice.”
Sweeney said she is undecided what she wants to study at UNC-Pembroke, but she said she might study business or elementary education.
As she leaves Rolesville, Sweeney said the main thing she learned during her four years in high school was that if you want something in life, you have to earn it and go after it.
“Things don’t always come easy,” Sweeney said. “You’re going to have to push yourself. You have to put forth effort to get your name out there.”