Willer maintains past traditions

It’s only Leanna Willer’s freshman year and she has already made an impact for the Ichabods.

Willer is from Elkhorn, Neb. and grew up playing almost every sport; soccer, softball, track, basketball and volleyball. Volleyball was the last sport she tried as she started playing with friends at the YMCA. Willer did not start playing club volleyball until her freshman year of high school.

Willer had never heard of Washburn, until fellow Elkhorn graduate Brittney Lynch committed, to play basketball for Washburn.

While playing in a qualifier match in Kansas City, Coach Herron saw Willer play and convinced her to come visit Washburn. The day after her visit Willer committed to Washburn, despite visiting University of Nebraska-Omaha, University of North Dakota and another division one school in Texas, she was only a junior in high school at the time. Staying with the girls at WU gave Willer the push to commit.

At Washburn, Willer is double majoring in mathematics-secondary education and Spanish with a minor in leadership. Secondary education covers sixth through 12th grade and Willer wants to teach a higher level math course, like calculus.

For fun, Willer and the four other freshman who live in the dorms like to frequently watch “Grey’s Anatomy” on Netflix. Willer also spends many hours studying in the library. Willer really likes Washburn so far, although it is hard to be away from home.

Willer is one of three freshmen that receives playing time. As for Willer’s’ early success, Coach Herron said spots were open for the taking.

“We have three freshman playing a lot,having all that competition in practice makes you tougher. It raises the game especially with Coach on your butt all the time, it helps you get better,” said Willer.

The encouragement from teammates helps Willer handle the stress of practices and games.

In the beginning of the season, the flow was not right and Willer admits to making freshman mistakes. As a team, they took the losses to heart and learned from them.

As the season goes on Willer plans to focus on one game at a time. Overall, Willer hopes to do well and win the conference tournament. The Bods have a successful history of winning and Willer plans to keep the tradition going.

“We’re still learning, still getting better. We haven’t peaked yet,” said Willer.