Cornwall aims to reach the heights

The flag football season has just wrapped up and the women’s league was as vibrant as previous campaigns. 

Women started playing organized flag in Cayman only six years ago, compared to the 15 seasons that the men have played, yet there are seven female teams compared to five men’s sides. 

Vania Cornwall has just completed her first flag season and absolutely loved it. She plays for Maples Lynx and was introduced to the game by teammate Carla Martin. 

“The sport is very new to me but I’ve grown to love it and I enjoy everything about it,” Cornwall said. 

She plays safety, wide receiver and tight end and although Lynx lost in the championship match to Anytime Fitness Wolverines 7-6 last week at West Bay’s Ed Bush stadium, Cornwall’s debut season was overall a positive one. 

Although disappointed by the defeat in the final and feeling that Lynx did not do themselves justice, Cornwall is gracious in defeat and is looking forward to the side’s improvement. 

“We still have next year to come back for the championship,” the 18-year-old Caymanian said. “I’m very confident that I’ll have a better season next year. 

“With the sport being new to me, I was still learning all the different plays and positions and getting to know all the rules. But for a rookie I feel I did pretty well. 

“Next year will definitely be different though. We made our mistakes and now it’s time to learn from them and better ourselves.” 

She hopes to one day represent the Cayman national flag football team as she has proudly done in regular football and basketball. 

A footballer with Elite Sports Club, Cornwall is used in literally any position. She is 6-feet 2-inches and has played as a goalkeeper and more or less every outfield position. 

Her position this weekend “depends on where coach Martha Godet sees fit to place me.” 

Sunset and Scholars International are the top women’s teams and Cornwall is confident Elite can overtake them this season. “We just need to put in the effort in training, work hard and support each other as a team.” 

An experienced basketball player, Cornwall has turned out for the Monarchs Under-19s and Women of Valor and is now with the Courages U-19 side. 

The business administration student at UCCI is inspired by her father Frank Cornwall, who is a local sporting icon. 

“I’m always being told how much of a great athlete dad was in his younger days and still is today and that I must get my athletic ability from him,” she said. “He’s always supported me in everything I do and I can always look into the stands and see him watching, whether it’s football, basketball or flag. 

“He’s pretty much played every sport Cayman has to offer and dominated in them and I can proudly say I’m following in his footsteps.” 

Surely being so tall helps in everything she competes in? “Haha. Everyone says that. I enjoy being a keeper but I enjoy playing on the field as well. The field is where I started. It wasn’t until CONCACAF’s U-20 women’s tournament a couple of years ago that I became a keeper. 

“I play where I’m needed so if it happens that I’m needed in the goal at some point, I’ll be the keeper again.” 

Her father being a national goalkeeping coach is not bad for her game either. 

This football season Cornwall is focused on working on her fitness and trying to avoid injuries as much as possible “and continue to grow as an athlete and better myself in every way possible.” Well, she does have a good mentor. 

Vania Cornwall
Vania Cornwall sets off on a run for Maples Lynx with Antoinette Lewis in pursuit. – PHOTOS: RON SHILLINGFORD

Frank Cornwall inspires his daughter Vania.

Frank Cornwall inspires his daughter Vania.

Cornwall has fallen in love with flag football.

Cornwall has fallen in love with flag football.

Kim Rivers, the Maples Lynx quarterback, had an excellent season.

Kim Rivers, the Maples Lynx quarterback, had an excellent season.