Burnsville High School football player empowering girls with her play on D-line, placeholder

Jessica Miles
Updated: November 05, 2020 07:00 PM
Created: November 05, 2020 05:05 PM

As a senior starter on the Burnsville High School football team, this blaze athlete has played in a few games.

Seventeen-year-old Alexis Bunnell is a young lady who's been playing football with the boys since sixth grade. In addition to placeholder for the kicker, she also plays defensive line.

"I love tackling people, I love being able to be with a group of guys going toward a common goal, the team part of it, I don’t think you get that with many other things in life," she said.

Bunnell said her teammates have always been there for her.

"Everyone was always super supportive and they were like, 'Oh, it’s Alexis, she’s playing with us,' it’s not like, 'Oh, that’s a girl,' it’s just, I’m just one of the guys," she shared.

She even said her gender has worked to her advantage a time or two on the field.

"I do wear nail polish a lot, so I have had guys comment on that when I am across the line and it gets them distracted for a second, so it does play to my advantage, I always try to wear brighter colors," she said.

However, she's never used gender as an excuse.

"Fall camp gets pretty intense and she had some bruises, you know, you can definitely see the bruises on her arms and things, and she never said a word about it, she is incredibly tough," shared Burnsville Head Football Coach Vince Varpness.

Varpness also shared some of Bunnell's highlights off the field.

"She’s on the student council, she’s very active volunteering and has won some awards for that, in National Honor Society, she’s got college all figured out, she wants to be a neurosurgeon, she’s got a bright future ahead of her," Varpness said.

"It's been amazing what she’s been able to accomplish," he added.

And, oh yeah, that kicker she holds for, it's her twin brother.

"It’s actually been a fun experience because we’ve been on the same team for like seven years, so it’s been just more bonding than we do at home, on the field," Andrew Bunnell said.

Andrew is one of two brothers who play football, both of whom look up to their sister.

"I’m proud of her, my sister is like a starter and a trailblazer and now a bunch of people are following her and I think it’s really cool," added younger brother Cade Bunnell, a sophomore football player.

"I think it’s important for people to know that girls can do everything boys can do," Andrew added.

After high school, Alexis plans to attend the University of Minnesota and study neuroscience. She said she is leaving the door open to playing and/or coaching football in the future.


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