When Wissahickon's Adelle Lever begins playing field hockey for Michigan State next season, there are sure to be familiar faces in the stands, even though she will be more than 500 miles from her Blue Bell home.
"She has relatives from several generations all over Michigan," explained Carrie Lever, mother of The Inquirer's Southeastern Pennsylvania field hockey player of the year. "I was born just off the campus, so Adelle is simply going to her second home."
Lever, who recently made an official visit, accepted a scholarship to the Big Ten school after leading the Trojans to a huge turnaround. In 2007, Wissahickon was an uncharacteristic 8-13. This year, they were 18-5 and qualified for the PIAA Class AAA playoffs.
Lever, who once played in the shadow of former Wissahickon standout Katie O'Donnell, came into her own this season. In leading the Trojans to their fifth Suburban One League American Division championship in six years, Lever scored 17 goals and added eight assists while playing the critical center midfield position.
She missed three games because of a hand injury that made it difficult to hold a stick. The Trojans lost two of those games to teams they previously had beaten.
Lever, who plans to be a dietitian, finished her high school career with 49 goals and 31 assists.
"I think she's going to be a fabulous player in college," Wissahickon coach Lucy Gil said. "She plays for fouls."
Both Gil and Carrie Lever say they have rarely seen anyone as focused as Adelle, on or off the field. Although she's just 5 feet, 1/4-inch tall, it's easy to pick her out on the field. She's the one with the nonstop energy.
"She is really driven," her mother acknowledged. "As a child, you couldn't stop her. My husband and I would often ask where did she come from. She's earned everything on her own. It's in her chemistry."
Off the field, Adelle Lever has made herself into an honor-roll student.
"I'm getting the best grades I've ever gotten," she said. Anatomy is her favorite subject. She plans to take a course at Michigan State during the second summer semester to get it out of the way before the fall semester begins.
Even her career goal of becoming a dietitian has her focused right now. She had just finished a late broccoli and chicken stir-fry dinner one recent evening. It was late because she had been working out at a fitness center in King of Prussia. She works out three or four times a week.
"I try to be handy in the kitchen and I watch what I eat," she said. "I probably eat better than your average teenager."
Her mother says Adelle's field hockey ability also has forced her to work on her communications skills. She is often sought out by reporters for a comment or two.
"She's always been very quiet," Carrie Lever said. "Now she has to talk to reporters, and she's benefited from it."