Senior Pasquesi: 12-season athlete

Morgan Bielski, Staff Writer

Recently ranked 7th in the state, Lake Forest High School’s students hold themselves to an incredibly high standard in their academics. With a wide range of courses offered to students, they can find themselves challenged and, at times, overwhelmed. Throw in a sport, and the free time in their day widdles down to almost nothing. 

However, every year, there is a select group of students who proves that they have incredible time management skills – these students being the 12 season athletes of LFHS. 

Being a 12 season athlete means that these students have participated in three seasons of sports every year for each year of high school. Essentially, they have never gone a week without having any practices, meets, matches or games in their high school experience.

Last year the high school recognized three 12 season athletes, but this year, there was only one: Gianna Pasquesi. 

For the past four years, Pasquesi has been a varsity athlete for at least two of the three seasons. Starting her junior year, she has been a varsity athlete all three. She is a member of the varsity field hockey team, 2x captain of the gymnastics team, and member of the track team. While she’s been a gymnast and runner her whole life, Gianna only started playing field hockey her sophomore year: a year before she made the varsity team.

Gianna is undoubtedly one of the most athletic students here.

From the jump, Gianna’s had a competitive drive within her. Her parents threw her into gymnastics and soccer at the age of 3. Pasquesi herself started to see the value in the game, and “fell in love with sports and the competitiveness right when [she] started.” And even from the beginning, she’s always had to manage participating in different sports all at once. 

But while many young athletes start out by playing as many sports as they can and then whittling it down to one, Gianna loved each sport and kept with each one throughout high school. 

“All throughout elementary school and early middle school, I was doing both gymnastics which was about 4 – 5 days a week and then soccer twice a week. In 6th grade I decided to stop soccer and start volleyball and track hoping to make the teams at DPM. In 7th grade I was doing volleyball in the fall, track in the spring and gymnastics all year round,” says Pasquesi. “Additionally, in the off season there was a point where I was doing club volleyball and club gymnastics at the same time so for my entire life, I have been balancing multiple sports at once.”

So for Pasquesi, the four years sports chaos are nothing compared to her timeline overlapping sports schedules. Practices, games, meets and tournaments have been built into her calendar for so long that it’s become normal. 

But as all athletes know, long periods of time without breaks from sports can come with negative consequences. Gianna knows this well – she’s had her fair share of injuries and mental blocks, specifically with gymnastics, of which she’s been competing since age 6. 

Pasquesi describes how “ the sport can get super mental and you can develop mental blocks. I would say that this was definitely the most challenging part of gymnastics because at the end of the day, your mind is telling your body what to do and if you overthink the skill/trick, your mind won’t let your body perform. When things would get tough, I would always go back to the basics and work my way back up – not only in gymnastics, but also field hockey and track.”

As well as finding how to overcome these mental blocks, Pasquesi knows how to be a leader and help her teammates get over the same ones. She recognizes the importance of the team and is constantly encouraging others. 

“My team in any sport is my motivation and being able to have people support you and lift you up makes high school sports so much fun and meaningful,” says Pasquesi.

But through the mental challenges, she explains that having to go from sport to sport has almost entirely been a blessing. Not only do they force her to be more productive with her schoolwork, she says that without sports, she wouldn’t know what to do with her free time.

As she’s improved her skills in each of the three sports she plays now, she has also learned many different life lessons that every athlete should know. 

“I’ve learned that hard work and commitment pays off. I learned that you get out what you put in. I learned to never stop pushing yourself and striving to be the best you can be. Just because you are already on the team does not mean that you should stop trying to better your game and improve your skills,” Paquesi said. . “I learned the importance of team. Like we say in field hockey, “feeding others before you feed yourself.” I learned that it’s way more fun to do things for your team than just for yourself. Lastly, I’ve learned to enjoy the time I have here at LFHS and the opportunities to play sports at such a highly competitive level.”

Pasquesi will be attending the University of Wisconsin Madison next fall and has plans to major in education studies in hopes to become an elementary school teacher.