Sophomore plays goalie for varsity water polo

Reese Komsthoeft, Freelance Reporter

Eleven-year-old Grace Wantuck ‘20 watched from the concession stand at SC while her older sister was playing water polo. Her parents told her to give the sport a try, but Wantuck shunned the thought for years. When she finally  jumped in the pool and put a ball in her palm though, she knew water polo would soon become a passion.

“When I was younger, I never liked water polo because I had to work in the concession stand at all my sister’s games,” Wantuck said. “But when my parents told me to try it, I ended up loving it.”

Wantuck began playing water polo as a goalie seven years ago for LT’s club team. Ever since then she’s received many other opportunities including making varsity as a freshman at LT, being chosen to play with the Midwest Olympic Development Team, playing in the National Championship three times, getting invited to the National Selection Camp and the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs and playing in the Junior Olympics.

Luckily, when she joined varsity, she knew most of her teammates already from playing with them on the LT club team, Wantuck said.

“The skill that she has being so young is a great asset that most teams don’t have,” teammate Greta Markey ‘18 said. “We are really excited to see what she does in the next couple of years and I know I am lucky to have her on the team.”

Wantuck also knew the varsity head Coach Lauren Burel every since she was little while playing on the club team.

“Grace fits right in with team,” Burel said. “Each girl knew how much talent she brought to the team, so no one had any trouble with her being there as a freshman.”

Burel worked with Wantuck over the summer, where they mainly focused on Wantuck’s perspective of the game and how to improve her skills in the net, Burel said.

“Grace is one of those players every coach wants on their team,” Burel said. “She works hard 100 percent of the time and she just generally has a great work ethic.”

Wantuck is the youngest player on the varsity team. She is one of two goalies on the team, Markey said.

“I love playing on the team, except there is a lot of pressure to perform well because some games I’ll be playing over juniors or seniors,” Wantuck said. “It’s hard, but I always do my best to stay focused on the game.”

Tryouts for the team will begin again on Feb. 27, but Wantuck doesn’t take a season off. During the fall, she was on the girl’s swim team and in the winter she will play on the club team, Burel said.

“Within the next three years, she will definitely be one of the best goalies in the state, especially with the help of the upcoming season,” Burel said. “That is, if she isn’t one already.”