At the top of her game

As place-kicker on the varsity team, West Campus junior Gracie Gasmann redefines Warrior football forever

Jared Bysiek, Features Editor

Gracie Gasmann begins her trek to the ball. As the place-kicker for the varsity football team, it’s Gasmann’s job to start the game with a kickoff. She steps onto the field, prepared to make the kick. All eyes are on her, but she doesn’t care. She knows she has one job to focus on, so with a deep breath and a firm kick, the football soars. The game has officially begun. 

Gasmann’s impact on the varsity football team is clear, ranking as one of the “top local high school specialty players,” according to the Northwest Herald; but the sport wasn’t always a passion of hers. In fact, it only just recently came to be. “I decided the summer going into my freshman year to try and kick for the high school team,” she said. “My brother [Alec] was the varsity kicker, and he encouraged me to try it.”

Even though she started football just a few years ago as a freshman, the game has quickly become a big part of her life in sports, just one of the three sports teams she’s on; the other two being soccer and basketball. “Being on a football team is one of the greatest experiences I’ve had,” she said. “The guys are all so amazing and protective of me. They respect me, and I enjoy being a part of this big family. The coaches are all so encouraging, and I couldn’t thank the coaches or my teammates enough for everything”.

Of course, with Gasmann being the only girl on the varsity football team, this does bring its fair share of challenges. Many sports, like football, are heavily centered around men, with women being left out, or even being delegated to separate groupings. But Gasmann has found comfort and inspiration within the team,and the school as well. “I believe there are doubts and struggles for girls trying to play a ‘masculine’ sport,” she said. “But I think it only takes one person to change the perspective. You just gotta stick to what you believe in and prove them all wrong”.

Head coach Jon Niemic is very proud to have her as an addition to the team, stating, “It’s an absolute pleasure having Gracie as a part of our program. Gracie commits herself to her craft, and shows dedication with her daily actions … Having Gracie a part of the team has been nothing but positive.” 

Her teammates share the same sentiment about her involvement as well. Jacob Lesus states, “She brings a lot of positive energy. Just having her out there, I mean, she’s so good,” he said. “She’s perfect for the season, and just brings positive energy to the team that I don’t think all of us guys can bring. I mean, she essentially won us the Jacobs game with those two field goals. So I’m always confident to have her as our kicker.”

Gasmann proves to be a determined student who is passionate about her involvement within both school and extracurricular activities. She not only be inspires those thinking of trying out for sports, but also with those struggling to find the confidence or motivation to take a risk; showing that by sticking to what one believes in and putting in the work, anyone can prove wrong even the most doubtful.