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Lacrosse | The day in the Life of a Northwestern Lacrosse player


  • HEIGHT 5-11
  • CLASS Graduated 2019
  • HIGHSCHOOL Timber Creek
  • HOMETOWN Orlando, Fla.

Leighton Yenor played Lacrosse at Northwestern University and graduated in 2019. Yenor appeared in all 21 games. Some of her senior highlights include:

  • Tied a career-high with three points against Canisius (2/25), including one goal and two assists in recording a caused turnover and a draw control
  • Scored two goals in a 23-13 win over Rutgers (3/14)
  • Scored two goals and three points in a victory over Marquette (3/23) 
  • Contributed assist, and one point in victory over Michigan (5/3)
  • Added one ground ball in a victory over Notre Dame (5/12)
  • Academic All-Big Ten

“The closer you are to being a normal student, the further away you are from achieving your goals.” This quote is preached to lacrosse student-athletes at Northwestern and is something they try to embody in everything they do on and off the field. “My time as a lacrosse player at Northwestern has been riddled with many ups and downs, but by using my resources and finding a balance, I have been able to thrive,” Yenor said.

Leighton shared a run through of what a regular day looked like from her experience as a student-athlete at Northwestern University.

Every morning, Leighton woke up around 6:15 am, got dressed, and was off and running by 6:25 am. She put her ‘Mornings’ playlist on shuffle and made the short drive over to the facility with Rihanna and Beyonce pumping her up for whatever waited ahead of her. Once she arrived, she ran to the locker room to grab some cereal and her gear before making her way to the athletic training room to do some quick rehab before 7:30 a.m. practice.

Any athlete knows that injuries are part of life, but while at Northwestern, Leighton experienced her fair share.

“Whether I am dealing with a sprained ankle, broken hand, hyperextended elbow, or torn ACL, I always seem to have a reason to hit the rehab center,” Leighton said. After she completed some strength exercises and stretching, she headed on across the street to Northwestern’s lakeside field. 

The team ran on “Lombardi Time,” which means “we have to arrive and be ready to go 15 minutes before whatever time our coach plans on starting.”

Leighton usually arrived at the field around 7:05 am to give herself plenty of time to put her cleats on and pass around a little before warm-ups started. The team went through a dynamic warmup and then finished off with some mini hurdles, ladders, and pole running. Once their bodies were warmed up, they transitioned to partner stick work, which usually lasted around 30 minutes.  

In the full swing of practice, the team split up into position drills where they worked on specifics for about 45 minutes before transitioning into full field drills. Everything they learned and worked on at the beginning of practice was a build-up to apply during the full field drills.

“We are expected to fine-tune our play and work kinks out early on, so by the time we are going full-field, we hit the ground running, literally,” Leighton said.

Once the team did about 90 minutes of full-field drills (depending on how well the women’s team played), they headed back up into the weight room to lift. The team split up by odds and evens based on jersey numbers and completed some different exercises that included some things from the sort of front squats, lunges, chin-ups, bench press, planks, push-ups, kettlebell swings, and farmer’s carry. The training plan tries to work every muscle group in every lift, so each lift involves a different set of exercises.  

The lift ended by 11 am, then Leighton would grab some snacks and a protein shake before hitting the treatment room for some more rehab.

“Depending on how I am feeling, I usually take a quick dip in the ice tub, a five-minute massage on whatever my problem area is, roll out, and then ice and stem,” Leighton said. Once she felt good, she went back downstairs to the locker room to shower and change for before class.  

“All of our classes have to be in the late morning or afternoon, so my first class is from 12:30-1:50 pm. My next class starts at 2, so I eat a snack- cheese stick and pretzels on my power walk (sprint) across campus and make it with seconds to spare. This class is shorter and ends at 2:50 pm, which leaves me just enough time to run home and eat a late lunch—salad with chicken and peppers—before I go to nanny from 3:30 pm-7 pm.” 

Once the parents get home, Leighton swung back by her apartment for some dinner—grilled chicken and pasta with some sauce—and then made her way to the library to do some homework.

As one of only six athletes in her grade majoring in journalism, her homework looked a little different than that of her teammates. “Because I have to write about three stories a week, the library is a great place to find new people to interview and is where I get my best work done,” Leighton said.  

She tried to leave the library by 10 pm, and with all (or most) of her work finished, she headed home for some dessert, her favorite meal. If she felt up to it, she would watch some HGTV or the Food Network for a little before going to sleep, but she rarely stayed up later than 10:30 pm for her leisure. Getting a good night’s sleep and planning out her days helped Leighton be as efficient as possible both on and off the field.

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