U.Va. lax star Stanwick excelling in the family business
Credit: SABRINA SCHAEFFER/MEDIA GENERAL NEWS SERVICE
Published: May 27, 2011
Published: May 27, 2011
Lacrosse is the family game in the Stanwick household, where there are eight kids, all standouts in the sport.
Six of them will return home to Baltimore on Saturday to watch Steele Stanwick and Virginia go for the family's first championship ring.
In his hand will be a piece of home — Stanwick's stick is hand-strung with leather by his dad, Wells.
"He didn't like the way they came from the manufacturer, so he would string them and keep them up throughout the season," Sheehan Stanwick Burch said.
Sheehan, the oldest of the eight, works as a lacrosse analyst for CBS College Sports Network. She said that Wells still uses leather, instead of the synthetic materials of the store-bought sticks that other players use.
"I think it's the kind of thing we all took for granted," she said of her dad's skill. "He does a really good job."
Steele said that Wells takes skill sets into account when he strings the stick, and makes them slightly different for each member of the family. He's not going into business, though — word of the sticks got out only recently, and he's humble about his contributions.
If Steele continues his recent tear this weekend, those sticks could be in high demand. The attackman leads the Cavaliers with 35 assists, but has transformed himself into more than a top-notch passer the past month, becoming a scoring threat that demands a constant double-team from defenses.
Thursday, he was rewarded when he was named first-team All-America, and he is a finalist for the Tewaaraton Trophy, the sport's top honor. He has 15 points in two playoff games, and single-handedly kept his team from being eliminated against Bucknell in the opening round.
"Steele's put us on his back in these playoffs," goaltender Adam Ghitelman said. "There's no doubt about it."
"He can just take over a game," attackman Chris Bocklet added.
Stanwick, a junior, fought leg injuries during the ACC portion of the schedule. He was unable to practice with the team, playing through the pain on game days but finding himself at less than 100 percent.
Now, with the pain gone, he's ready to go.
Sheehan said that her dad didn't have any lacrosse experience, but when the family moved to Baltimore, he picked it up as a sport he could play with his daughters.
Now all eight siblings are involved in the sport. One took a break when he was 7, but it lasted only a year.
"I would love to say that we had some kind of impact on Steele's play," Sheehan said. "But you could just tell from a very early age that he was going to be very athletic. It just came a little easier to him. I wish I had some of his natural skills."
Steele's two oldest sisters played in the Final Four. This will be Steele's third, his second in his hometown. There are plenty of high school titles to go around in the Stanwick household, but no NCAA rings.
This weekend is another opportunity to fix that, and Wells will have the equipment ready.