The process of finding where you want to be can be a complicated one sometimes. For Brooke Wisniewski, it was never complicated. It was all about finding which place was going to give her the best opportunity on the field and in the classroom.
When the time came to find the place where Wisniewski was going to go, it wasn’t a tough decision. She knew one thing for certain: she wanted to major in exercise science.
“I got recruited by a lot of schools, but I came here for lacrosse obviously, but I wanted to study exercise science,” Wisniewski said. “Being that [Slippery Rock] had one of the top programs in the country, that’s why I came here.”
When she came to The Rock, though, things weren’t how anyone would have envisioned them to be. The 2020-2021 school year began online. Wisniewski had to wait to hit the field, but she didn’t have to wait for long.
2021 was the return to the field for all PSAC spring sports. Just like that, Wisniewski got her first test of PSAC action.
The season didn’t go as planned for Slippery Rock, but Wisniewski saw the field for all 12 games played in the 5-7 campaign. Not only that, but she started three games.
2022 served as Wisniewski’s first season as a full-time starter. A lot of changes were made. The biggest one by far was Coach Taryn Burkholder taking over the helm.
“I was very happy when she got it, because she was our assistant my freshman year and once our head coach left, we wanted her to get it,” Wisniewski said. “I know we had to rate our coaches after the season, and I know I gave her a very high score.”
Under Burkholder, Wisniewski turned into a reliable scorer on a team filled with a lot of offensive firepower. Wisniewski managed to score 15 goals in 17 games. She scored two in a 26-1 onslaught of Edinboro.
Wisniewski also had the opportunity to learn under playmakers like Emily Benham and Charleigh Rondeau in her sophomore year.
“[Benham] was here last year, she was our captain and I’m sad she’s gone,” Wisniewski said. “Charleigh is probably my best friend on the team, she’s such a good draw taker.”
Even with all the chemistry they had last year, they still couldn’t find their rhythm in time. They ended at 10-7 and had some close losses that hurt them down the stretch. The season served as a reminder of what they can and should accomplish to Wisniewski though.
“Last season we had ups and downs, there were games that we lost that we should have won, but after that we came together as a team,” Wisniewski said. “I feel like we grew as a team to eventually win the games that we lost.”
This year the goals are pretty clear after last year for Wisniewski.
“For myself, coming in as a starter I just want to be a team player because we have a lot of new faces because we lost so many starters,” Wisniewski said. “Building up their confidence because we have new attack and letting them know that they can score [is important].”
That didn’t start with their spring break trip, but the trip played a large role in helping to accomplish one of her goals coming into the season.
“We spent every second of our days together, but honestly it was a good time in Florida, we lost our first game, but we thought we were going to win it,” Wisniewski said. “Florida brought us all together, and we’re one big happy family.”
On the trip, they lost No. 14 Lynn University 15-8 but rallied for their second game to beat Palm Beach Atlantic University 22-6. It helped contribute to their fast start.
“I think our confidence is very high right now, we just lost to IUP in a close one, but we beat Lock Haven who is another PSAC player that we went 1-1 against last season,” Wisniewski said. “We have a couple more PSAC games this week, and we know that we have the team that we can pull it together and play a full 60 minutes.”
Wisniewski has been a huge part of that success in the early going. She’s already tallied five goals in two separate games this season. She’s also surpassed her totals but her first two years combined with 20 goals through just nine games.
She still has a lot of time to build on what she’s started. But one thing is clear: she’s here to make history and to win.
“I have two years to still make history and win a PSAC playoff game, at least,” Wisniewski said. “This year I think we have a very good chance of winning a PSAC game, but we’ll see.”