If you grew up in Maryland, Long Island or especially if you were from Penn Yan, NY, it would be normal if not somewhat expected that if you played lacrosse, you came from a family of lax players. In Florida, it would be unusual, but that is changing. From Jacksonville, Florida, 2022 Attack/mid, Sofia Chepenik, comes from a family of four athletic siblings. All three of the Chepenik girls played lacrosse. Sofia's older sisters and her brother paved the path and provide her a fantastic example of hard work and success which motivated her to be the best player, athlete and person she could be.
Sofia's brother, Conor, although not a lacrosse player, was a college football player and a State-runner up in wrestling. He was voted the best athlete at his high school. The second oldest of the Chepenik siblings, Grace, is the one responsible for getting her younger sisters, Stella and Sofia to play lacrosse with her. Grace was the youngest starter on her high school's Varsity team and wanted her sisters to help her practice in the back yard. Not to be over-looked in this story is the third Chepenik child and middle girl, Stella, who was the greatest motivation on Sofia's journey of lacrosse. Stella like her brother was also named as the best athlete at her school. She was 3-time MVP in both soccer and lacrosse and had offers to play both sports in college. Stella currently plays lacrosse at Embry Riddle University in Florida.
"Stella and I are close in age. I always looked up to Stella and tried to be like her as an athlete and person," shared Sofia.
One of the most memorable lacrosse moments came for Sofia was when she was called up in 6th grade to play Varsity at the Episcopal School of Jacksonville. It was a memorable moment because she got to play with both of her sisters. Having all three of the Chepenik sisters playing together was great. All of the sisters scored and most importantly, they notched a win for their team.
Since the day her sister, Grace, convinced Sofia and Stella to throw with her in the backyard, Sofia fell in love with the game of lacrosse. She had played soccer for nine years and it was not fun anymore.
Sofia's dad always reminded his children to be passionate about what you do. Once Sofia scored her first lacrosse goal-her passion for the game was locked in. Sofia could not stay away. Through lacrosse she has made incredible friends from all over the country --recently playing on the Under Armour Midwest Highlight team.
Sofia loves the team aspect of lacrosse. She values being challenged and pushed by her team mates and coaches to get better and to be the best player she can be. Sofia's high school coach, Krista Grabber, a two-time captain at the University of Florida, described Sofia, "(Sofia) has a strong lax IQ, she's an extremely passionate player and her personality draws team mates to her. She definitely has what it takes to play at the next level."
Now that the college coaches are able to talk to the 2022s, it will be super exciting to see where Sofia ends up! She's hoping it will be at a school where she can fulfill her dream and win a National Championship. She's a Florida lax girl who is sure to inspire many young girls-just as her older sisters inspired her!