By John Orrell, Contributing Writer
Westborough – Most multi-dimensional student-athletes at the high school level become master jugglers trying to balance academics, sports, other activities and, “oh yea”, enjoy the special teenage years you only get once with a social life consisting of family and a multitude of friends. Most find the challenge manageable while others admit “maybe not so much.”
It’s safe to say that Westborough High’s (WHS) Kaleigh Wright is one of those in the “I can do it all and do it well” column.
Wright, a 2017 WHS graduate, is a twelve-season athlete (basketball, field hockey, soccer, lacrosse), a National Honor Society and Tri-M Music Honor Society member, a two-time All-State concert band member for French horn, a Girl Scout Gold Award honoree and a Scholastic Art Award winner for photography. Her packed schedule almost begs the question as to when does she have time to sleep.
“It was a challenge for sure, to balance schoolwork, sports, marching band, French horn auditions and concerts for Districts and All-States, and Girl Scouts, including my Gold Award, while keeping a solid social life as well,” admitted Wright. “Academics do not always come easily to me. Senior year I had four Honors classes and two AP classes, my most rigorous schedule ever. I tend to be a laid-back person which serves me well as far as balancing things.”
Wright and her teammates have recently concluded another successful varsity lacrosse campaign finishing at 18-1, but the one loss was in the Central / West title match versus powerhouse Longmeadow. In 2016, it was the same falling short in semifinal competition coming out on the wrong end of an 8-6 score versus Minnechaug Regional. The Rangers won 17 consecutive matches before their season ended.
Her statistics as a Ranger goalkeeper tell much of her lacrosse story. In 2017, she recorded 171 saves, a save percentage of 60 percent with a GAA (goals against average) of 6.36. Career-wise, she notched 474 saves, a 48-4 win/loss record and an overall GAA of 7.05.
Wright began with youth sports at age five playing soccer but switched to high school field hockey for two years after competing in softball, lacrosse, and middle school field hockey. Lacrosse soon became her focal point and it was from there that her interest in the sport took off with the help of some influences along the way.
“I played five years of club lacrosse under Stacey Freda,” said Wright who was recently named a US Lacrosse All-American. “I attended so many camps, clinics and showcase tournaments during that time. All together I have worked with 35 different goalie coaches, including several private goalie coaches. It didn’t come easily but it wasn’t hard either since my love for the game made me want to work at it and put in countless hours.
“My biggest influences for sports are my mother (Nancy, three-sport high school athlete who went to UMaine Orono on scholarship for softball and field hockey), my club lax coach (Freda) and all the goalie coaches I’ve had. They ignited a fire within me that sparked my passion to become a better player. They taught me it wasn’t always about trying to be the best, it was about being a good teammate and playing for the love of the sport.”
One of the attributes Wright justifiably takes pleasure in is her leadership skills, more specifically working with younger players to assimilate into the varsity program.
“I work closely with the defense and communicate on the field since I am the only one who has full-field vision,” she explained. “As a co-captain this year, I’ve enjoyed helping the defense to be on the same page and work closely with our midfield to ensure effective transitions and clears. My style is quite laid back. I’m approachable and more of listener, helping the younger players learn the system. I tend to be a collaborative, quiet leader who lets my actions do most of the talking.”
Wright will move on to Stonehill College in the fall where she was recruited in her junior year to play lacrosse. She is excited to become a Skyhawk and plans to continue to play the French horn and minor in music. She is currently undecided as to a major and is exploring a number of choices. In the meantime she reflects on her days at Westborough High.
“It has been quite a ride. When I put on a Ranger jersey for any sport I see it as a responsibility to be a good sport and show character whether winning or losing. In lacrosse, it has been an honor to represent Westborough both on and off the field. On the music front, I also represented school in the same way. At concerts, auditions, district and state performances, when people would ask where I’m from, I had enormous pride when I answered ‘Westborough.’”