Shaler’s Wightman to continue lacrosse career
Friday, June 1, 2018 | 12:36 AM
Playing collegiate lacrosse wasn't on Madaline Wightman's radar before her senior season. As a junior, Wightman didn't play at all, choosing to work instead.
“I instantly regretted it,” Wightman said.
Returning as a senior attackman, Wightman returned to a Titans program on its third coach in three seasons and featuring a young lineup. Shaler finished 2-10 with victories over McDowell and South Fayette.
In the process, Wightman received the attention of several schools before she decided to play at Division III Thiel.
The Tomcats placed fifth in the Ohio River Lacrosse Conference last season, finishing the season with a 6-9 mark and 5-6 in league.
Wightman was interested in going there after finding out she would have an opportunity to play as a freshman. What won Wightman over was the chemistry Thiel had and the opportunity to play at a school where the school/sports balance was in the right place.
“I wanted to focus on the school aspect of college,” Wightman said. “I loved the coach and the players. I had the opportunity to go up and scrimmage with them for a day. I love it up there. I love their chemistry and how they work as a team.”
Falling in love with lacrosse came naturally.
She was the first of her siblings to start playing lacrosse in second grade.
Both of her parents played, and her brother and sister also played for Shaler.
“I like the pace of it,” Wightman said. “It's never boring. You are constantly doing something and always moving and always doing something. It's very aggressive. That's what I like. The aggressiveness and competitiveness, and that's what made me stay with it.
Wightman helped Shaler weather its first losing season since 2009 as a senior. The Titans were led by Ali Nicholas, who took over for Bethany Snider, who led Shaler to a 9-9 record in her only season as coach.
The Titans struggled to score, finishing 35th of 46 teams by averaging 7.25 goals. Shaler was much better defensively, finishing 23rd in the WPIAL by limiting opponents to 9.83 goals per game.
“I thought we did a good job adjusting,” Wightman said. “It was very different. Switching the teams we play and all the games getting moved and everything, we adjusted well. We didn't win all of them, but we worked through everything. We worked as hard as we could and everything. We adapted well to every circumstance.”
Josh Rizzo is a freelance writer.