Haleigh Toto keeping busy this fall
On any given week during the soccer and football season, Haleigh Toto usually is busy.
In fact, she is among a likely a very small group of female athletes who could play in two different athletic events in one day, the ones that involve both girls’ and boys’ games.
This year, the freshman has been the leading scorer on the girls’ soccer team and also is the backup kicker for the Roughies’ football team.
So far, she is enjoying every moment.
“It has been a lot of fun,” said Toto of the experience. “Playing soccer has really helped football. I was able to kick in eighth grade last year and I really wanted to try it again. Everything has been going well.
“I always have been a big football fan and I really can’t get enough of watching football. I like watching Penn State and the NFL.
Toto has been the kicker for the JV team and has been consistent on kickoffs and extra points. Last season, she had a busy year and showed she could kick a 35-yard field goal in practice.
However, she hasn’t had the chance yet in a regular game.
Still, being the lone female athlete in a physical, all-male environment can be a challenge.
“I was very nervous,” she recalled. “I really had no idea on how it could be out there. But my teammates fully accepted me and that was me feel more comfortable. I just try to be as locked in as possible when I am out there and don’t let anything bother me.
“I know this is a great opportunity for me, and I am working as hard as I can. I know I can kick at least a 35-yard field goal and probably a little bit farther.”
Through Tuesday, Toto was the leading scorer on the girls’ soccer team with nine goals. Since she arrived, Toto has made an impact on the program. She scored a combined 10 goals in the team’s two scrimmages.
“We have a lot of young players,” said first-year girls’ soccer head coach Chris Hain. “Haleigh (Toto) made a quick adjustment and she is a very talented player. She is very comfortable out there and is one of the hardest workers on the team.
“She can get herself open and has natural instincts.”
Toto began playing soccer at the age of seven, and she has maintained a steady schedule.
“I play soccer the entire year,” she said. “I have played year-round soccer half of my life.
“I played on a coed team in middle school, and it hasn’t been that big of a deal playing with the varsity.
“I have gotten used to playing at that level because of playing on traveling teams. It is a little different, but I feel pretty confident out there.
“We’re a pretty young team, but we have a good chemistry.”
Toto credits her love of soccer to her grandfather, Anthony Toto Sr., who had a notable career in Italy.
“I know he was very good in Italy,” said Toto about her grandfather. “I don’t know how much he played here.
“But soccer always has been a big sport in the family and we all enjoy it.”
For the next three years, Toto surely will be enjoying and producing both on the soccer and football fields.