In the year’s first edition of “Auggie at a Glance,” we take a short trip over to the ice of Ed Saugestad Arena to chat with All-MIAC Defenseman Valerie Whichello. Valerie is a native of Woodbury, MN, and graduated from East Ridge High School in 2015 before joining the Auggies.
Joe Rydel: With two years of Auggie Hockey already behind you, how has your overall experience been as part of this team?
Valerie Whichello: I would say being a member of this team has been pretty special. I’ve enjoyed being surrounded by teammates who have similar interests and future aspirations. Being surrounded by such great people has helped me become more motivated and supported throughout my college experience. When school gets stressful or times get tough, my teammates are always there for me. Along with that, the coaching staff is also very supportive. It’s nice to have coaches who care about your academic and athletic success. Many of the experiences that have come along with being a member of this team have helped me grow as a person. Overall, I am so lucky to be a part of this team and wouldn’t change any of my experiences for the world.
JR: What is the best part about being on the hockey team?
VW: The best part of being a member of this team is credited to my teammates. Throughout these past few years I have had the opportunity to meet my lifelong best friends. As a freshman coming into a whole new program, I was lucky to a be a part of a family from the start. I feel very fortunate to be surrounded by people who will always support me and push me to be my best.
JR: With the season just beyond halfway done, who on the upcoming schedule presents the biggest challenges for you and your team?
VW: With the Hamline series behind us, the next competition we face is Gustavus. Just like any team in the MIAC, Gustavus is a good, skilled team. It’s definitely going to be a tough weekend for us, but we are looking to be our best and hopefully we will have good results. It should be a fun series.
JR: How big of a role has Coach McAteer played in your team’s success each year?
VW: Each year the Augsburg Women’s hockey program becomes more and more successful which is a reflection on Coach Mac. Coach Mac has impacted this team by instilling in us the core values we need to reach success. She has taught us the value of having a team first attitude, always respecting our opponent and working hard for the things we want. Her positivity and dedication to our team have both guided our success.
JR: Many athletes have a pregame ritual. What does your game day routine entail?
VW: I typically have the same routine when it comes to game day. I always need my pregame Starbucks. Before warmups, I always listen to music, fill out my game sheet and read a page of my faith book. I also always have coach Mo tape my stick.
This article first appeared in the Friday, January 19, 2018, Edition of The Echo.