It’s easy to understand why people gravitate to Augusta Prep’s Leila Woodhurst. Her red hair helps her stand out and her upbeat attitude and infectious laugh hold people’s attention.
The 5-10 senior power forward, who averages eight points and 12 rebounds for the 7-0 Lady Cavaliers, takes the same approach to basketball that she does to life. Running down the court with an ear-to-ear grin, it’s hard to tell if Woodhurst has just scored a basket or picked herself up off the floor after being knocked down.
“Apparently I laugh when I dribble,” said Woodhurst. “I always smile after I make a shot, or laugh. So I’m always just, giggly. In Leila-land as coach likes to say,” she adds, laughing.
And while he doesn’t know what to expect from Woodhurst all the time, Lady Cavaliers head coach Myran Hunt knows what the tone will be.
“You never know what she’s going to say or what she’s going to do,” said Hunt. “It’s always the same way whether she’s having a good day or a bad day: with a witty personality and a sense of humor.”
Her demeanor might be a distraction to her opponents.
“Sometimes I’m really focused and seem really serious, but I always wonder what they think when I’m saying something weird or laughing,” said Woodhurst.
Woodhurst started playing basketball and soccer at age 6 because of her older brothers’ and sisters’ influence.
“I started basketball and soccer at the Y when I was little,” she said. “My siblings did it and they’re cool. I wanted to be cool.”
While she likes basketball, especially the sprinting up and down the court, it is soccer that tickles her fancy a bit more and likely will be the avenue that takes her to college.
“I have been accepted into Columbus (Ga.) State University and I went to their soccer camp over the summer,” said the Lady Cavaliers goalkeeper. “So they like me, which is good.”
Her attitude on the court translates onto the pitch.
“I’m a little more serious at soccer,” she said. “I do act goofy sometimes, like if something funny happens on the field I’ll totally laugh.”
While accepted at Columbus State, Woodhurst has applied to other colleges and has not made a decision about her future yet.