Athlete of the Week: Leia Papajack


Ashley Hawkins

Outside of basketball during her free time she does art, specifically painting and sketching and enjoys a variety of other hobbies.

Clare Daudelin and Trey Williams

Sophomore Leia Papajack is a post for both the girls varsity and JV basketball team at La Salle and also plans to run track for the first time this year. 

Papajack has been playing basketball since she was in fourth grade and has looked up to an array of different NBA players as she has gotten older. “I like old school,” Papajack replied. “So like Dennis Rodman and the Chicago Bulls right now,” Papajack said.

Papajack comes from a basketball family, so she grew up around the game. She was specifically inspired by her father. “My dad, he was really into basketball so I play for him,” Papajack said. 

Having played basketball for so long, Papajack finds motivation to work hard from wanting to win as well as playing the sport and “having fun with it,” she said.

Outside of playing basketball for La Salle, Papajack also enjoys doing art, including painting and sketching, as well as hanging out with friends. 

Additionally, Papajack has been training every part of her game to become a more well-rounded player, doing cardio and weightlifting in her free time.

Leaps and bounds of achievements can be accomplished with dedication, which has paid off for Papajack, “My vertical has gotten higher,” she said. Despite the challenges of continuing to work hard, it pays off when aspects of her game are able to improve.

Additionally, Papajack looks to improve more of her tactical skills this season, “My main goal is rebounding so that’s a good achievement for me.”

Before games, Papajack prepares by utilizing music to help get her in the zone.

Because Papajack is a part of both the varsity and JV basketball teams, she is able to understand different qualities that make a successful team, “teamwork and good chemistry within the team off and on the court,” she said. “Good chemistry is always what matters.”

As a student-athlete, it can be challenging to find time for both school work and sports. “Balancing a life of school and sports is such a struggle right now,” Papajack said. However, she puts in the work as she plans for a future in college after she graduates.

Playing sports for a long time can prompt learning a lot of life lessons. For Papajack, she has discovered the value of hard work. “Progressing through, and not thinking about the past [and] what has happened, and just pushing forward can really help,” she said.