There’s no place like home.
In Courtney Weidner’s case, that means Little Flower High School.
Of course, the Mayfair resident loves her Northeast Philadelphia home, but for four years she has spent most of her time at 1000 Lycoming Ave.
“I basically live at Little Flower. I’m here all of the time,” said Weidner, a senior who plays soccer, basketball and lacrosse for the Sentinels. “I’m here for hours after school every day, practicing. I get about one week break in between sports. I love it.”
Lately, her time after school has been dedicated to life on the soccer field, where she has helped the Little Flower squad go 9-2-1 this season. The Sentinels finished the regular season in style, taking out St. Hubert High School, 2-1, on Oct. 17, then downing Archbishop Ryan, 2-1, three days later.
“We were supposedly the underdogs,” she said. “Nobody really thought we would be good. But we actually proved them wrong.”
Little Flower finished the regular Catholic League season in third place. The Sentinels rode a three-game win streak during the last two weeks of the regular season, earning home-field advantage in postseason play. The final playoff schedule was still being determined as the Times went to press this week.
“They played really well today,” head coach Markos Pittaoulis said after last week’s triumph over Archbishop Ryan. “I think if they play together next week, we’ll be fine. I’m looking forward to it.”
For Weidner, the chance at a successful playoff run is bittersweet. For the four-year varsity player, championship glory would be a dream come true, but with it comes the end of her tenure with the Sentinels’ soccer program.
“It’s exciting, but it’s also upsetting because Little Flower is my life. It’s my second home,” she said. “Knowing the fact that I have to leave and I won’t be back next year is upsetting. But knowing that we’ve gotten this far and we did this well is great.”
Even when the soccer season is over, Weidner will have plenty of time to compete in a Sentinel uniform. She’ll resume her guard duties on the basketball court this winter, and when spring arrives it will be time for lacrosse.
ldquo;Soccer is my biggest sport. I’m going to go to college for soccer,” predicted Weidner. “In soccer, I think this could be our year because there is no team that is a powerhouse. We can compete with these teams. When we’re down, we can pick each other up and still win.”
A varsity player in all three sports — soccer, basketball and lacrosse — Weidner has earned All-Catholic honors twice for soccer and once for lacrosse.
She’s also a star in the classroom. Weidner participates in Little Flower’s Diocesan Scholar Program, which allows her to take classes at the collegiate level. The program is designed to give exceptional students an opportunity to participate in classes at a local Catholic college or university while simultaneously attending high school.
“I only take four classes because I’m a diocesan scholar at St. Joe’s. I take four classes at Little Flower and then I go to college,” explained Weidner, who is studying psychology at St. Joseph University. “I’m getting used to it. I learned a lot, like how the work ethic is different in college. You have to teach yourself and you have to study. They don’t just give you the notes and say this is what is on the test.”
Weidner plans to major in criminal justice next year. Her dream is to be a lawyer. She has applied to more than a dozen colleges but hasn’t decided where she’d like to go.
ldquo;I’m thinking about St. Joe’s, but I’m also thinking of some schools far away,” she said. “I’m excited, but it’s going to be so hard leaving Little Flower. I love the girls here. Everyone is so nice and enthusiastic.
“My team is my best friends. We’re as close as a family,” she continued. “We spend so much time together. We have just gotten so close. It’s going to be hard to leave.” ••
Editor Melissa Yerkov can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org