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The Carletonian

The Carletonian

The Carletonian

Senior Spotlight: Elyse Wanzenried, women’s volleyball

<nzenried, a senior captain for Carleton women’s volleyball, continues to excel both on and off the court for the Knights. In her final year at Carleton, Wanzenried hopes to lead her team to a fulfilling and successful season. Wanzenried grew up in Minnetonka, Minnesota and did not begin playing volleyball until her freshman year of high school. However, once she experienced the sport, she quickly realized it was an atmosphere that she wanted to be a part of. “I developed a passion for the sport because I fell in love with the environment and the energy of the game,” Wanzenried said. “I was lucky enough to have incredible coaches and great teammates on every single team I’ve played with, which made it easy to dedicate myself to team success over personal success.”


Starting at a later age than most for her sport, Wanzenried had to put in extra effort to catch up to her fellow athletes. “My freshman year of high school, I made the very last spot on the lowest team and worked my way up, and I felt even more determined to improve. I’ve always loved this sport because I can tangibly see the effects of my hard work and determination to succeed,” she explained. When deciding on a college, it ultimately came down to choosing between academics and athletics for Wanzenried. Fortunately, Carleton provided her with the right balance. “Academics have always been a bigger priority for me and when I learned more about Carleton, it seemed to be the perfect fit”, she said. Certain schools she visited felt less welcoming, whereas she loved the closeness and character she immediately felt from Carleton.

Wanzenried spoke highly of her teammates, who she described as, “resilient, hardworking, empathetic, and hilarious.” From lifting at 6:30 a.m. three times a week in the offseason, to the demanding schedule they have in season, the team always carries a positive attitude. She respects her teammates for their strong individual character and their collective team growth. “There’s no group of people I rely on more than my teammates; when things are tough we pick each other up and we celebrate our successes together,” she said. Every member is fully invested and Wanzenried feels proud to be a part of such a great group of women.

The team has set a series of goals for this season, including out-hustling opponents and pushing each other to win grueling five-set matches. Wanzenried also emphasized the goal of committing to be a constant support system for other female athletes. “One team goal that I’m particularly proud of is the goal of tangibly supporting every single female sports team on campus at least once, whether that be writing cards, attending a game, or following the livestream, since I think it’s critical to foster support for each other within the athletic community and among female athletes more specifically,” she said. Individually, Wanzenried hopes to demonstrate her three years of hard work and play for her teammates, especially in her new position on the court. “I’ve never played the position I’m currently playing for the team”, she explained, “but I love a challenge and I’m enjoying trying to learn as much as I can and push myself to get better every day.”

Being a student-athlete at Carleton is a very rigorous commitment, however Wanzenried has come to embrace her busy schedule. “The school-volleyball balance can be challenging at times because of the demands placed on athletes to perform in both contexts, but I usually find that I perform better in both when they counterbalance each other,” she said. In leading the team this year, Wanzenried hopes to instill the values of love and hard work amongst her teammates. She explained, “All I can do as a leader is lead by example and always strive to elevate my teammates; the goal is not my personal success but the success of the team. As I’ve told my team in the past, when we play with joy and levity, we cannot fail.”
After Carleton, Wanzenried’s current plan is to do a two-year program with the Peace Corps, with the intention of attending law school afterwards. During the summer immediately after graduation, she hopes to travel to Japan with a friend, as well as spend time with the people most important to her. While her post-Carleton adventures may not include competing in volleyball at a high level, Wanzenried stated, “I will always value the love I have for all the incredible people this sport has brought into my life.”

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