The vocal leader of Super 25 Regis Jesuit (Aurora, Colo.) isn’t five-star Fran Belibi, who recently threw down the first alley-oop dunk in girls basketball history.
It’s not point guard Avery Vansickle, whose list of college offers includes Michigan, Minnesota and Colorado.
No, when coach Carl Mattei needs someone to raise their voice, it’s a player whose primary sport is lacrosse.
SUPER 25: Regis Jesuit ranked No. 16 in Week 7
“I don’t have to walk into practice and blow my whistle and have a tantrum. Sidney will get in your face and say, ‘Let’s go,’” Mattei said. “Sidney’s the pit bull.”
The sport is a fixture of the Weigand family. Gracie, a sophomore at Regis Jesuit, plays lacrosse, basketball and field hockey. Jack, their 19-year-old brother, plays lacrosse at Army.
Gracie’s attitude on the court is similar to Sidney’s. Though she’s just 15, Mattei called Gracie “probably the best athlete” and said she can guard four positions.
“This kid will get her nose in it and she’ll get dirty and she’ll have scabs all over her knees and she doesn’t care,” Mattei said. “She’s a sacrificial athlete.”
That’s a fitting description for a lacrosse player who has one sibling already at West Point Academy (Army) and another, Sidney, who is signed to join Army next year.
Mattei is Canadian, and lacrosse is Canada’s national summer sport. He said the game originally was created to prepare for war.
“(In) lacrosse, you don’t show injury, you don’t show pain,” he said. “When you transfer to the basketball court, it’s very similar. You can smash Gracie to the ground, Gracie pops up. You can do that to Sidney and Sidney will smile in your face, you’re like, ‘This kid’s taking a licking, why’s she smiling?’ Because it’s not affecting her.”
There are other similarities between the two sports including pace of game and style of play within the 3-point arc in basketball vs. the 8-to-12-meter range in lacrosse, but the biggest similarity on defense.
“Basketball has helped me tremendously with my defense in lacrosse,” Gracie said. “Just because of how much I move my feet in basketball, it’s allowed me to excel on the defensive end in lacrosse.”
The Weigands’ skill sets and attitude is the perfect complement to D1-bound players like Stanford signee Belibi, Vansickle and Jada Moore (offers from NC State, Texas Tech, Gonzaga and Ohio).
Regis Jesuit has jumped to a 14-2 record, but that doesn’t quite reflect the dominance of the Raiders. They led Rock Canyon (Highlands Ranch, Colo.) 51-6 at halftime on Jan. 9; three days later, they led Heritage (Littleton, Colo.) 40-1 at halftime. Starters often sit for at least a full quarter in the second half.
This has made the Raiders one of the premier teams in the nation.
Over the last four years, the seniors have improved their play and chemistry. They’re still looking for their first championship together after getting to the semifinals in 2017 and the finals in 2018.
“Coming so close and not getting it definitely hits you harder than a lot of other things just because it makes you want it that much more,” Sidney said.
It’s only Gracie’s second year with the program, but she has the same drive to be successful.
“My sister is never, ever giving up. I think that’s her biggest strength,” Sidney said. “Her drive to compete and how badly she wants to win, I think it’s so evident whenever you see her play.”
It’s no coincidence that Mattei compared this team to his 2013-14 championship squad that ended the year No. 3 in the Super 25.
“People say, ‘Why is Regis all of a sudden back in the top 10?’” Mattie said. “I think it’s because of the Weigand sisters.”