Hutchison senior signs hockey NLI

Published: Apr. 11, 2022 at 8:14 PM AKDT
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FAIRBANKS, Alaska (KTVF) - Another Interior Alaskan high school senior has signed their letter of intent. Sierra Lesniak will continue her education and athletic career as a Maryville University Saint. Lesniak spent Sunday morning with her parents making her decision official.

She will be entering as a freshman in a new Division II program. “It’s really nice,” said Lesniak. “Me being on the D-II team will give me some opportunity to be on the D-I team if something happens like someone getting hurt or not making their grades. If that happens, I could swing up for a game.”

It is not uncommon for top talents of high school athletes in Alaska to pursue different, better athletic opportunities/competition elsewhere in the United States. Lesniak even chose not to compete in Anchorage, which is another common move a player might make. She played all four years of her high school hockey career in Fairbanks.

Lesniak played her freshman and sophomore years of hockey with Hutchison. In her junior year, the Hawks did not have a coach, so Lesniak played for Monroe Catholic her junior and senior seasons. Lesniak had a previous connection with Monroe, so the transition was fairly smooth.

“I wanted to continue playing hockey,” stated Lesniak. “I went to Monroe for second through fifth grade. I was familiar with some of the kids on the team and the program. That’s kind of why it was our second call.”

Sierra intends to enter the Maryville pre-med program, but doesn’t have a specific track in mind just yet, but knows she wants to help people when they are in need. A pre-med major at any university will be a busy, demanding degree, but Lesniak is up for the challenge.

“I know that when I’m on the ice, I’m a lot more focused,” said Lesniak. “Me playing hockey has always kept me on top of my schooling. I’ve always been an athlete whether that’s track and field, hockey, or just pretty much anything.”

Maryville University is located in St. Louis, Missouri, which is no quick-trip from Fairbanks. Sierra does however have family located across the Midwest, which does help provide a little mental reprieve to her parents being so far away St. Louis.

“It’s a fantastic opportunity for Sierra,” said Sierra’s mother, Mimi Lesniak. “She’s worked really hard to get to this place in her life, and she’s worked hard in school and on the ice. A door is open for her, and we’re happy she is making this step forward. We’re really proud of her.

After she finishes up her senior year in a matter of months, In the fall, Lesniak will head to Missouri to continue her athletic and academic career at Maryville University.

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