Steph DeSantis Finds Success in All Seasons

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Senior Steph DeSantis defends the ball against Newton North.

Gina Conti

Senior Steph DeSantis has played soccer for the Rebels since freshman year.

As a three-sport athlete for all four years of her high school career, senior Stephanie DeSantis was voted the Most Athletic senior girl at Walpole High School by her graduating class.  She played on the varsity soccer team in the fall and was nominated captain for both the varsity basketball team and the varsity track team in the winter and spring, respectively.

Her determination has greatly improved her performance in both sports and academics.  DeSantis brings her willpower to the field, court, and track. At this point in her high school career, Desantis’ presence affects the attitude and effort in her beloved trammates around her.

Ultimately, DeSantis says that soccer has brought the best out of her as an athlete for it was the first competitive sport she ever played.  Soccer has grown on DeSantis over the past few years because of the strength and ferocity that  affiliates with the sport.  At this time, she is known for her aggressive nature when it comes to competition.  She made varsity in just her sophomore year, earning position of striker —leading the team on the offensive side of the ball. DeSantis also plays midfield which; also, requires an aggressive state of mind: a characteristic that Desantis is certainly linked to.  She said, “soccer is great because there are so many players on the field at once and everyone can contribute. It is so much more aggressive than any other sport I have every played which is probably one of my favorite aspects of it too. And you gain a lot of endurance.”  DeSantis has found  help developing such an aggresive state of mind – much of it comes from her coach, Erin Kearney.  Kearney has not only taught the team about soccer, but about strength and courage too; she is both a good coach and a great a role model.  Desantis also draws inspiration from professional soccer player Mia Hamm.  Steph DeSantis will continue to play soccer throughout her life, and will never forget the roots of a team, and what it means to be part of one.

On the basketball court, Coach Stacy Biladeau is one of the toughest coaches DeSantis has ever had.  Biladeau  forces her to dig deep, and to never give up.   DeSantis  says, “I’ve played basketball since I was about 9. My position is a shooting guard. I played varsity my junior and senior year. I was captain for basketball my senior year.” Although DeSantis enjoys playing soccer, basketball has its own spot in her heart because of the mental aspects.  DeSantis says, “I also love it because it is so much more team oriented than soccer because there are only 5 people on the court at once. It’s a lot more personal.”  Basketball is where some of DeSantis’s best friends are, and where she has built some of her strongest relationships over her years at Walpole High.  But the High School is not the only place where DeSantis plays basketball; her dedication towards the game has her playing pick up games in the summer with her friends all the time.  Basketball is something that will most likely forever stay a part of Desantis’s life.

Senior Steph Desantis defends the ball against a Newton North player.

And then, there is Desantis’s newest sport – track and field.  She started running track her freshman year as a sprinter, her focuses being the 100 and 200 meter dashes, as well as the 400 and 4×400 meter relay.  Eventually she tried her hand at the discus and javelin, and realized that throwing was a better option as she has the strength to compete at a varsity level.  DeSantis managed a throw that got her 2 spots behind the high school’s record in the Javelin, a  105′ 4.00 toss against Wellesley.  Since 2009 the record had been held by Kristan Papirio’s 111′ 6.00 throw.  Desantis also fouled out of an important competition last year.  She says, “at the division 2 championship last year I was there for jav, and I threw my first throw and the officials disqualified me because I had an earring in that I had no idea how to get out.”  DeSantis is a dedicated athlete, and refuses to be let down.  This meet was important, and it meant  a lot to DeSantis to compete against the states top javelin throwers.  But it was only her junior year, and she still has this year to make an impression.

As Desantis looks at her high school career,  she finds that she can attribute her coaches and teammates to her success over the years.  She says, “When my coaches give me criticism, bad or good, for some reason it gets me going even harder than before. Also playing for my teammates who are mostly all of my best friends is all about respect. I love being able to give all I’ve got for them and getting them to go harder themselves. Also the older kids in soccer and basketball that played before me have been like roles models.  I always used to love going to the high school games for soccer and especially for basketball.  Those girls were always like heroes to me. so it had always made want to work harder.”  You will always see DeSantis with a basketball or soccer ball, even when its not in season.  There is something about sports that drives her to succeed and pushes her like nothing else.  Athletics never came easy to her -hard work and dedication have been a consistent part of her life, and she has seen great success as a result.