Athletic culture runs deep throughout the halls of East, but for students who decide not to associate their talents with school or club sports, there’s a newly popular opportunity for them to stay active and have fun doing what they love.
The Wheatland Athletic Association (WAA) is a local recreational league for sports like baseball, soccer, and most popularly basketball, in which individuals can sign up to play against one another in low-commitment, high-energy games.
And East students have taken it by storm.
Students are responsible for organizing their own roster, coaches and payments needed to play in a short season of competition.
The association assigns each team a weekly practice time and location – making it easier for teams to get quality playing time.
Member of Goonsquad and top shooter Matt Pohlman said he joined the league because he and his friends wanted to play real games of basketball without committing to months of practices, games, and tournaments.
¨We didn’t want to have to pay a ton of money to join tournaments,¨ Pohlman said. ¨So we found this league from other friends and decided it´d be a great fit for us.¨
Former basketball players Grantas Vievesis and Ryan Boniecki represent two of the teams from East as head coaches.
Head Coach for Marquette Grantas Vievesis said his basketball experience is an advantage that would lead his team to a successful season.
¨I really thought that I could bring my knowledge to the game and I had a team that wanted me so I picked them up,¨ Vievesis said. ¨We work a lot on shooting, dribbling and all of the fundamentals of basketball that I can teach.¨
The WAA league currently has four teams representing East in their program but also teams from local schools as well, such as Neuqua.
UNC Tarheels player Andrew Trakszelis said the lack of seriousness makes the program a fun experience rather than the pressure felt from high school athletics.
¨It´s a good experience with your friends,” Trakszelis said. ¨I feel like it really is just more about the friendship aspect and getting the opportunity to play with all my friends before we go off to college.¨
Trakszelis joined the Tarheels after Carter Arquiza broke his kneecap. He said his limited practice time did not hinder his abilities because of the experience of his coaches and teammates.
¨I´ve never had real basketball experience,¨ Trakszelis said. ¨I think that plays into the fact that I get coached up well and they try to help me catch up.¨
All of the East teams demonstrate confidence in their abilities, holding big goals for themselves and the future.
Goonsquad head coach Ryan Boniecki said coaching chose him and his abilities showed in the team’s current undefeated performance.
¨I know what we have to do to win,¨ Boniecki said. ¨I love coaching my players, my friends, we have a great time and let’s be honest, we don´t lose.¨
As the end of their regular season approaches, Goonsquad has hefty goals heading into March playoffs to continue their undefeated streak and win the championship.
¨We want to win the championship and it’s a very possible outcome,¨ Pohlman said. ¨I think very highly of our team.¨
Games are held every Saturday, ranging from 9am to 6pm at Granger Elementary.
Grace Praxmarer is a staff editor for Oswego East’s online news magazine The Howl