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Leonard heading to Saint Mary's College

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Bottom row from left: Ed Leonard, Caroline Leonard, Kathleen Leonard. Top row from left: Megan Clark, head coach, TNLAX; Rachel Harrison, girls assistant lacrosse coach, JPII; Jamie Jordan head coach, JPII Knight Stars; Mary Leonard, girls head lacrosse coach, JPII; and Paul Raccio, boys assistant lacrosse coach, JPII. SUBMITTED

Pope John Paul II High School senior Caroline Leonard signed a letter of intent last week to play collegiate lacrosse at Saint Mary's College in Notre Dame, Indiana. Saint Mary's College is an NCAA Division III institution and part of the MIAA Conference.

This season, Leonard was a captain of both the Lady Knights Lacrosse team and the Knight Stars Dance team. A consistent performer on the lacrosse field over her four years as a starter and varsity letter winner, Leonard played a vital role in the team's 44-24 record over that span, which included two elite eight appearances and one final four appearance in the TGLA state playoffs.

Caroline joins her sister, Rachael Leonard, on the Saint Mary's lacrosse team, which finished second in MIAA conference play this year. Caroline follows in the footsteps of other siblings who signed to play collegiate lacrosse including Mary Leonard (Davidson College), Evan Leonard (Birmingham Southern) and Aidan Leonard (Centre College). All played lacrosse for JPII and the Hendersonville Lacrosse Club middle school program, which is now in its 12th year. Mary Leonard is JPII's current girls lacrosse coach.

"Caroline is a raw athlete. She was a phenomenal leader of the lacrosse team, never gave up in any game, and played with heart every day," said Mary Leonard. "I know that Caroline intends to make her mark on campus, as she pursues lacrosse, dance, and the academic rigor of college all at once."

Leonard also led JPII's dance team to its first TSSAA State Championship in Hip-Hop in 2017. She is a member of National Honor Society, National Art Honor Society, and House of Peter Leadership. She balanced her athletic pursuits with four AP classes, training as a competitive dancer at Smartt Steps, and volunteering in her community. Leonard plans to pursue dance as well at Saint Mary's, perhaps as a part of the University of Notre Dame pom squad.

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