Schemel passes and programs to fulfill her passions


Cooper Boardman, Sports Editor

The crowd roars its approval as the basketball swishes through the net.

It’s just another Friday night for Madeline Schemel ’15, a senior captain on the Staples girls’ basketball team.

At 5 feet 11 inches, Schemel is one of the best centers in the FCIAC, leading the Wreckers to two state tournament appearances in three seasons at Staples.

She began her basketball career in second grade, competing for the Westport P.A.L. travel basketball program. This experience paid off during her high school career, as it helped build her skiLls enough to land a spot on the varsity team as a freshman and an All-FCIAC Honorable Mention during her sophomore year.

By her junior year, Schemel began playing for a well known AAU basketball program, the Connecticut Premier, alongside fellow Wrecker Maggie Fair ’15. As a member of the Premier, Schemel made the Pool NN all-star team at the U.S. Junior Nationals.

Her third year at Staples also introduced Schemel to a different activity— robotics.“I joined the robotics team last year because I was always interested in science and math, and I thought it sounded interesting,” Schemel said. That interest grew to a passion, and she is now a senior robotics captain, a 2014 Connecticut State Robotics Champion and even a participant in the World Robotics Championship last year in St. Louis, Missouri.

“I enjoy the problem solving of robotics,” Schemel said.
Her basketball and robotics teammates alike admire her leadership qualities on the court and while building models.

“She’s a good leader,” robotics teammate Noah Pines ’16 said. “She knows what needs to get done for the team, and does a good job communicating her ideas to the rest of the team.” Basketball coach, Paco Fabian, echoed this sentiment. “When Madeline speaks everyone listens,” Fabian said.

However, Schemel finds differences in leadership between each activity.
“In robotics, being captain is a lot of organizing meetings,” she said. “In basketball, it’s more leading by example.”

Her work ethic may be why she draws admiration from onlookers everywhere. Both robotics and basketball require multiple hours of practice and work after school, but Schemel finds the time to attend both, and her efforts have clearly paid off.

She has received numerous awards, including the Westport News athlete of the week, a Barnard Book Award and is a member of the National Honor Society.
Schemel is also currently deciding between attending the California Institute of Technology and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Basketball teammate Gabby Perry ’16 and robotics teammate Dylan Gleicher ’17 describe Schemel as a “quiet leader” and “dedicated”.

Wrecker Robotics will attempt to qualify for nationals once again this spring, while the girls’ basketball squad is trying to get back to the state tournament after missing out last season.

With Madeline Schemel ready to lead each, don’t be surprised if both teams reach their goals.