Saturday, October 1, 2022

Berkshire’s Grace Lillibridge rules the night

Berkshire senior Grace Lillibridge being named Homecoming Queen at halftime of the Badgers’ 55-7 win over visiting Grand Valley normally wouldn’t have raised an eyebrow.

But then again, most Homecoming queens aren’t crowned wearing shoulder pads. Nor do they typically kick a pair of extra points during the contest on the field.

“It was really exciting when Coach (Josh) DeWeese called for me and Lexi (Boyk) handed me the tee,” Lillibridge said of her first point after try. “I was super nervous going out there but I felt confident when the whistle blew because I knew what I was doing. To also win Homecoming queen the same night was even more so exciting. I love my school and the people that I’ve grown up with. It was special.”

Lillibridge, a four-year member of Berkshire’s girls’ soccer team, and Boyk both joined the football squad this season and have alternated as the Badgers’ kicking specialist.

“I’ve wanted to kick for a while,” Lillibridge said. “I thought about it since freshman year and I had the okay from my parents, but I was just nervous until this summer. I just thought, ‘I know I have the leg for this, I can do it,’ and all the boys have been so supportive along with my soccer coach, Ian (Patterson). He’s been nothing but helpful since I started.”

Balancing her participation in soccer and football, along with her academic pursuits and social life, has been relatively easy.

“Football isn’t quite so demanding as soccer,” she said. “I mean, you have one game a week compared to two to three games a week. Lexi and I usually go up to kick a couple of times after every soccer practice and then call it a day. It’s been an easy balance.”

As for her rare accomplishment on Friday, scoring in a high school football game while also taking home the crown, Lillibridge hopes to inspire other young girls to follow their dreams, wherever they may take them.

“I hope to show younger girls that they’re powerful,” she said. “Nothing should stop them from doing what they want. The confidence to play with the boys, to be an absolute powerhouse and show everyone who’s boss, I hope I inspire more with me being on the football team more than I do with the crown.”

Steve Hare
Steve Hare is the Chagrin Valley Conference's Sports Information Director. He also created and publishes, an online publication dedicated to providing hyperlocal coverage to area high school athletic programs. Hare began covering high school sports for the Lake County News Herald in 1997. Hare attended Willoughby South High School through the middle of his senior year, then graduated from Berkshire High School in Burton in 1986. He played football, wrestled and was an all-Geauga county baseball player (1986). He lives in Chardon with his wife Paulette and their children.

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