Sports Out Of The Spotlight


Credit: Natalie Raab

Natalie Raab out on the ice

Sophie Creager-Roberts, Staff Writer

When you think of sports at Western, most people think of the trifecta: football, basketball, and lacrosse. However, students at Western excel in a multitude of sports apart from the mainstream ones.

One of the many unadvertised athletic teams that WAHS offers is crew, a sport that junior Peter Dister has pursued since his freshman year. Dister has formed many connections with his teammates and has taken away many valuable lessons from the sport itself.

“I like the teamwork it requires. You form a strong bond with everyone on the team. It’s a lot of fun. It requires a lot of athletic abilities but also many technical skills,” Dister said.

In addition to her endeavors in field hockey, Melina Punsalan has pole vaulted for the track and field team since her freshman year. Her motivation to try the sport sprung from her relationship with Emily Rayle, who was a senior during Punsalan’s freshman year. Rayle recommended the sport and had told Punsalan that it was a lot of fun. Having previous experience in gymnastics has definitely helped Punsalan in developing her skill as a pole vaulter; however, the uncommon sport has proved to be very different from others that she has tried.

“Pole vaulting involves being able to control yourself in the air, which can be really tricky. You have to have lots of arm strength and control and be able to time it just right,” Punsalan said.

At age ten, freshman Natalie Raab was introduced to figure skating, a talent that would soon have a major impact on her life. From being on the ice once or twice a week to having only one day off, Raab’s passion for skating has grown immensely.

“Sacrifice is definitely something that figure skating requires. Since the rink in Charlottesville is closing, we have to drive to Richmond or Fairfax for each practice. Every Tuesday and Thursday I leave after lunch to get to Richmond on time for afternoon practice, so sometimes it’s difficult to make up work. I guess overall, skating has just taught me that I have to work really hard to achieve success,” Raab said.

Athletes throughout the school spend hours developing their skill in numerous sports that are not only diverse but are also very rewarding for students at WAHS.