Amelia Heisler: Senior lacrosse standout provides spark to team

Ben Foster

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As a  freshman, Amelia Heisler ’15 came in with high hopes as a student and an athlete, and almost four years later these high hopes have turned into realities. Today, she is a captain of the varsity girls’ lacrosse team and will play collegiate lacrosse at Lafayette College.

Heisler always had a passion for lacrosse. She has played the sport since fifth grade, but her ability to recognize her skill was initially camouflaged.

After playing  PAL Lacrosse through fifth and sixth grade, Heisler shipped out to Colorado for  seventh and eighth grade and continued to play and learn more about the sport.

“We moved to Colorado because my family is a big ski family, and we wanted to take a year to try something new,” Heisler said.

After moving back to Westport, Heisler was back for her freshman year of high school at Staples. Later in the year, Heisler was able to showcase her talents on the field at lacrosse tryouts.

“I played low attack all through middle school and in Colorado. Then the year I came home I tried out for [the] CT Chargers [now the CT Grizzlies] and they switched me to low defense.” Heisler said.

She gave it her all at tryouts,  revealing her new defensive strength. Her astonishing skills left the coaches no other option but to send her to varsity, skipping over the freshman and junior varsity team.

“It was really cool being on varsity as a freshman,” Heisler said. “It was an opportunity to play with upperclassmen who were better than me and I was able to learn from them.”

The experience of the upperclassmen gave her even more potential for growth. “They pushed me to be better and be more competitive,” Heisler said.

After a successful three years, Heisler was elected captain for the 2015 season, but there was a huge bump in the road leading into her senior year.

“We were playing Danbury, and a girl stepped on my foot as I was trying to run. So my body moved, and my leg didn’t, and I heard a bad popping noise,” Heisler said. “I had impingement in both my hips, which means my hip bone isn’t perfectly round. Which makes it run against my labrum and has caused it to tear over time.”

After having surgery a little later than anticipated, the probable window for return was closing on Heisler.

“Knowing that I was going to possibly miss my senior year was upsetting and tough to accept, but I’ve always had the support of my teammates,” Heisler said.

As captain, Heisler knew her duties and did not let anything get in the way of her and her teammates. She reached a full recovery a month and a half earlier than expected, so she was happy to have the opportunity to play 90 percent of the season.

A varsity teammate of Heisler, Georgia Nicklin ’16, truly appreciated her captain and all she has done for the team.

“Amelia’s a really great captain because not only is she an amazing player but also a good leader and supportive figure,” Nicklin said. “She’s always trying to help you out whether it’s on or off the field. She also has a lot of passion and intensity for the sport which motivates the rest of the team.”

Many other teammates like Nicklin were able to watch her grow as a player, fall as a result of injury and raise back up mentally and physically. These players were fortunate to end up playing under the leadership of Heisler.

“She always gives it 100 percent and is really good at motivating the team,” teammate Jackie Ortega ’15 said. “She really makes us believe in ourselves as individuals and as a team as well.”