This is the latest in an occasional series on how some of the area’s top high school athletes are working to develop their skills over the summer.
Blake’s Caroline Wannen has always pushed to keep up with her older sisters, and they never made it easy on her. Both Molly, 23, and Nicky, a rising senior at Wake Forest, played three sports for the Bengals, showing Caroline what it takes to balance a full slate of athletic responsibilities from a young age.
“I guess I was kind of a copy cat, but I wanted to do what they were doing,” said Caroline Wannen, a rising senior who plays field hockey, basketball and lacrosse. “I followed them around a lot, and they probably tried their best to ignore me. . . . I learned a lot just from watching.”
The multi-sport balancing act can get particularly tricky in the summer.
Wannen, a Maryland commit for lacrosse, has focused mostly on the sport she will play in college, spending almost every summer weekend playing in tournaments with her M&D Black 2013 club team. She’s the only Montgomery County public school player on a squad packed with Division I recruits from area private schools and traditional public school strongholds.
In past years, Wannen, who has played on the varsity team in all three sports since her freshman year, also worked in time to play summer basketball and attend weekly pick-up field hockey games. Last summer proved particularly hectic as she tried her best to meet all those commitments, while being ever-mindful of the importance of playing well on the lacrosse field during a key recruiting period.
“The pressure last year was just unbelievable,” Wannen said. “I haven’t ever been through anything like that. It was just so nerve-wracking.”
Wannen, who finished her junior lacrosse season with a school-record 85 goals and 22 assists, picked Maryland in October and has dialed back the workload this summer. In an effort to enjoy her final season of club lacrosse, she decided to take a break from basketball and field hockey for now.
Like her sisters, Wannen has made lacrosse her priority. (Molly played at William & Mary, while Nicky is on the club team at Wake Forest.) These days they are quick with advice for their little sister.
Almost every day, the two-time honorable mention All-Met midfielder heads out to her backyard for a high-intensity session of firing shots on goal and passes off her bounceback. Sometimes she makes the mile run over to Blake to get in her work there.
She mixes in longer runs and sessions in the gym, utilizing advice from Blake lacrosse coach Janis Maloney, who is a personal trainer.
After a vacation to the Outer Banks at the end of the month, Wannen will dive into preparations for field hockey season and begin the busy sport cycle so familiar in her family for the final time.
“If I wasn’t [on those teams], I don’t know if I could motivate myself enough to go work out,” said Wannen earlier this month, sweat beading on her forehead after a brief lacrosse shooting session. “My teammates push me to go faster and go harder, and that’s what I need.”