It is the last season of an eventful basketball career for redshirt shirt senior Grace Vander Weide. Her road to get to where she is now has been filled with twists and turns. Though it has not stopped her from being a key member of the Marist women’s basketball program, leading the team in a variety of different ways.
Vander Weide’s career would start out in Iowa, where she would develop into a number one recruit for the whole state of Iowa during her time at Valley High. “Ever since I was little, I had a huge passion for basketball,” said Vander Weide, “It’s something that has been consistent in my life.” That passion for basketball has accompanied Vander Weide throughout her time at Marist College.
“It’s been quite the journey,” said Vander Weide. Starting her college career at Missouri State as a freshman and then transferring to Marist College for three years of eligibility has proved to be a great decision. In the transferring process she reached out to schools that she wished she visited out of high school.
“I was listening to the Lord, and the Lord told me to go to Marist because Coach Giorgis responded very quickly to my email that I sent out,” she said, “When I was talking to him, one of his big philosophies is giving people a second chance and he is strong in his faith too. It just seemed like a really good fit and I am proud of my decision.”
Vander Weide received the second chance she was looking for at Marist College with new coaches and teammates. “My teammates are really fun to compete with and to compete for,” she said. The team holds each other to high standards in trying to win a Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference (MAAC) championship. “I expect myself to be one step better than where I was last year because I think every single person on the team has that expectation of themselves, so I am going to carry that weight too,” said Vander Weide.
She has started in every game at point guard except one thus far, leading the team in total assists, steals and three-point percentage her junior year. Those accolades do not go to her head though. When asked if she believes she is the best point guard in the MAAC her response was “I don’t know how to answer that,” said Vander Weide, laughing, puzzled on how to respond to the question.
Vander Weide is a silent and humble leader of the team, working on her game constantly. She is regularly working by herself outside of practice, developing her game and gearing up for her senior year. When asked about her leadership role she explained, “It’s like a job,” said Vander Weide. “It’s kind of a promotion to captain and I just have to take that leadership role and run with it.”
As she approaches her senior season, she is ready to embrace the leadership position. “I can’t overthink it and I’m just going to play and have fun with my teammates,” said Vander Weide. While having fun with her teammates, she understands what is at stake for her last season.
“All the girls in the past, the alums, are watching our games and following us, they’re proud of us, but we know we want to win a MAAC championship game to get back to everything they’ve won in the past, just to hold that tradition,” said Vander Weide. Winning the MAAC championship for her teammates and her coaches is just as important as the alumni cheering them on.
Expect to see Vander Weide as a crucial player on the women’s team to lead the Red Foxes onto another successful season, pursuing the MAAC championship to get Marist women’s basketball back on top of its glory days in her last season of her basketball journey.