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Varsity Q&A; with Sam Wancowicz, Gilman, soccer

Sam Wancowicz has one goal for his senior season: to end his fine four-year career the way it started.

As a freshman in 2010, Wancowicz was the starting right back when the Greyhounds captured their last Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association A Conference championship. The team has since been on the losing end of the past two title games, leaving the All-Metro first-team defender that much more hungry in his last go around.

Gilman coach Jon Seal called Wancowicz the best all-around player he's coached in his 21 years. Last season, Wancowicz played wherever the team would benefit most during the course of game. If the Greyhounds were protecting a lead, he would be back on defense. If they needed a goal, he would be up front. If they needed some stability in the middle, he would play center midfield.

Seal will use Wancowicz the same way this year as the Greyhounds, stocked with 13 seniors, are primed for another championship run.

That's just fine with Wancowicz, a selfless team player who is an equally fierce competitor. Wancowicz, who has a 3.8 grade point average, is committed to play at the University of Pennsylvania next year.

What were the factors in deciding to go to Penn?

When I went up to the campus, I loved it there. The coaches made me feel at home and I really like what coach Fuller has going there. I think he has the right idea, and we can do well in the Ivy League.

I think my second visit there was when I knew. It was a spontaneous thing. My dad wanted to go up there because he hadn't seen it yet, and I liked it a lot. Coach said they really wanted me, so I felt good there. Plus, the academics.

What responsibilities do you have as a senior captain?

We have 13 seniors and our job is to mentor the younger players, and coach Seal is looking for us to do that, so we're going to do whatever we can to help them out.

With such a senior laden team, what are the expectations this season?

Losing the championship last year is a large part of our motivation for this year because we want to get back there and hopefully win it. But we know it's going to take a lot of hard work. With 13 seniors, things are kind of unique because we all have a pivotal role, and we're pretty close, so we should do well.

How did your versatility on the field come about?

When I was younger – under-10 through under-14 – I always played forward and then when I came here, coach Seal was the first one to play me on defense at right back. So I've kind of gone from there – playing some defense, playing forward – anywhere I'm needed. I think it's good because you get a taste of everything and it's nice to be able to help your team out any way you can.

Outside of soccer, what are you looking to get out of your senior year?

I definitely want to be more involved with the school. I'm going to do my best to get out to all the different sporting events and help around the community as much as I can. It's pretty cool because everyone is looking up to you, so it's important that you lead by example.

What's the best advice you've ever received?

My dad always tells me to be a leader and not a follower, so that would probably be the biggest one. He brought that up to me at a young age, and it's kind of carried throughout my life. I try to do it as much as I can, to make him proud.

What has been the best day of your life so far?

I'd probably say the day we won the championship in my freshman year. That was a great feeling and I want to get back to that, but I know we have to work hard and come together as a team.

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