Napoleon High School football player Maggie Van Wagnen kicks an extra point during a recent game against Hanover-Horton.
Photo, story by Jeff Steers
Exponent special writer
Playing ‘football’ and going to high school has become a full-time job for Napoleon High School athlete Maggie Van Wagnen.
Consider the junior’s schedule.
Van Wagnen said she goes to high school football practice from 3 to 4:30 p.m., drives an hour (to Wixom) for “football” (a club soccer team), and gets home at approximately 9:30 p.m.
From 9:30 p.m. to midnight she makes sure her homework is done.
It hasn’t affected Van Wagnen as she maintains a 4.0-grade point average in her class – putting her in the top four.
Van Wagnen is in her second year as a kicker in the Pirates’ football program. She is also a soccer commit to Oakland University – a D-1 college program.
Her schedule would wear out the average person.
“My dad’s favorite saying is “No A, no play,’” Van Wagnen said. “I get as much of my homework done during school.”
Heading into last week’s matchup against Grass Lake, Van Wagnen had made 6-of-7 extra points for the Pirates.
“I never thought about playing football until last year,” Van Wagnen said. “It’s not about me . . . it is inspiring a generation of high school girls underneath me.”
Van Wagnen’s club team – the Michigan Jaguars – plays in the Girls Academy League with teams from other states. The Pirate kicker sometimes has to drive five or six hours to get to out-of-state tournaments right after a high school football game on Friday night.
“I have connected with soccer players all over the United States and around the world,” Van Wagnen said.
Van Wagnen said that athletics has taught her a number of valuable lessons throughout the years.
“Sports teaches you mental toughness . . . especially as a kicker,” Van Wagnen said. “I have supportive friends and a supportive family . . . that keeps me motivated.”