Grace Weigand brings toughness and grit to multiple Regis Jesuit teams

Regis Jesuit ThunderRidge girls basketball

(Paul Soriano)

Grace Weigand sat at the end of the Regis Jesuit girls basketball bench with her knee encased in a bag of ice. Anyone who saw the way she crumbled to the floor just a few minutes earlier could tell something wasn't right.

It wasn't long after that the extent of the damage was realized. She was going to need surgery. She needed to rehab. Any thoughts of playing lacrosse, her sport of choice and the sport that is getting her a scholarship the University of Notre Dame, went up in smoke.

She knew one thing, though. The faster she got her knee repaired meant she could start physical therapy sooner. And she has every intention of returning to the lacrosse field stronger than she was.

"I had surgery 10 days after I got hurt," Weigand said. "I got hurt on March 6 and I had surgery on March 16, right before everything got shut down from coronavirus. That was a huge blessing to get it done before everything was shut down. I was also an essential patient for physical therapy and I was lucky to be able to go."

The timetable of her recovery is unclear, but she's shown that she has the work ethic to pull anything off. Since she got to high school, Weigand has been a three-sport athlete at Regis Jesuit. In the fall and spring she's on the grass playing field hockey and lacrosse and in the winter she helps the girls basketball team as one of the better defenders on the roster.

She refuses to ease into each sport at the start of each season. The turnaround is quick and the transition from sport to sport isn't easy for anyone to handle.

"Gracie makes that transition," Raiders girls basketball coach Carl Mattei said. "She plays field hockey right up into finals and then overlaps into a winter sport. She doesn't skip a beat and she doesn't take a single day off."

Mattei knows that she's one of the premiere girls lacrosse players not just in the state of Colorado, but in the entire nation.

Regis Jesuit ThunderRidge girls lacrosse

(Ray Chen/ArrayPhoto.com)

In her sophomore campaign, she was second on the team in overall points and goals scored. The only person to edge her in those categories was her older sister, Sidney. When Notre Dame came calling, Grace was quick to jump on the offer. When her injury happened during basketball season there was a brief moment of disbelief that playing something other than her primary sport dealt her such a tough break.

"I'm not even doing what I'm going to be doing in the future and this happens," Weigand said. "There was a bit of 'Why me?' But after the surgery, it's now full speed ahead and not looking back. There are a lot of things out of my control and I just need to focus on what I can do."

What she can do is take on her latest opponent: rehab. That's a game that she knows she can win and those around her know she can win. The biggest tool an athlete can have in a battle against rehabbing an injury is toughness is there may not be an athlete more suited for that battle than Weigand.

"She already well beyond where any normal person would be in their recovery," Mattei said. "That's the difference. She can mentally push herself to where she knows she can beat it."

Weigand has no plans to slow down. It's too early to determine if she can get back on the field for the field hockey season and she admits that her basketball future is unclear. That can be a tough pill to take for someone who started playing sports for all the right reasons.

"I played field hockey my freshman year to make friends," she said. "Going into freshman year I didn't know as many people so field hockey was all about making friends."

As she's grown into a lacrosse standout, she never gave up on field hockey and she never gave up on basketball. Time will tell if she'll be back on the floor next winter, but Mattei insists there is a spot for her in the program regardless of the role she decides take.

She's the kind of athlete that can make a team better without even stepping on the playing field because she understands that to achieve the desired result, the effort must be there every step of the way.

"That's what makes her so special," Mattei said. "She doesn't stop. She doesn't take a break."

Cherry Creek Regis Jesuit field hockey

(Tim Bourke/TimBourke.com)