We’re excited to start a new series in our sports section called “Sports Spotlight,” in which we connect with a different local athlete each week and ask him/her a few quick questions.
Similar to our “One of Us” series that you read on page six, our “Sports Spotlight” profiles will feature both former Ponte Vedra and Beaches area athletes, as well as current student athletes attending our local schools.
For the first part of this new series, we caught up with Michael Leisle, a Nease High School alumnus and new cadet at the United States Military Academy at West Point. Leisle, a two-time All-State football punter for Nease, was recruited to the Academy to punt for the Black Knights. A few weeks into fall camp, Leisle recently took a few minutes after practice to answer some questions for us.
How’s camp going so far?
“It’s been going pretty well. I’m excited to be out here. It’s a cool experience playing at this level. It’s exciting to be able to play with all these people who have been playing for three or four years on TV. It’s cool and humbling. “
When did camp start, and when does it end?
“Camp started the 31 of July, and it’s three weeks long. We were in basic training for four weeks before that.”
What are you specifically working on during camp?
“Consistency. I’m just trying to get back into things. I’m just trying to get back to good form and continue to improve from there. “
What’s been your favorite part of being on the team so far?
“Getting to know the other specialists. I’ve gotten to meet a couple of them before. Getting to know the incoming specialists as well as the kids that have been there… they’re all good kids. And it’s really cool to get to know them. “
What’s been most challenging?
“The speed of the game. It’s a lot quicker getting the punts off. “
What are expectations for the team?
“They’re pretty high. Everyone is confident.”
How would you describe West Point to someone that’s never been there before?
“I’ve only been here for about a month. It’s a beautiful area. It’s a military academy focused on a bunch of things, mainly academics and ‘building leaders of character’ and instilling values in every capability. The ultimate goal for what they want to prepare you for is being a platoon leader in the Army. It’s an institution that is aiming to make the best leaders possible.”
It’s pretty different compared to Ponte Vedra, huh?
“Yes. There are these things called hills, and running up them sucks. It’s also a bit cooler.”
What do you plan to study?
How did Nease prepare you for being a new cadet and football player at Army?
“Coach Krause has been a huge part in getting me mentality right for getting through every stage of training so far. Coach Stephens, my specialist coach, also definitely prepared me.”
If you have suggestions for future “Sports Spotlight” candidates, please email Jonb@opcfla.com.