Prep of the Week: Sarah Wangen
Sarah Wangen has seen the duality of Packers Girls Hockey since joining the team in seventh grade. From being a game away from the state tournament to finishing near the bottom of the Big 9 Conference, it’s been a hard lesson in adaptation and what it takes to play hockey.
“Last year we had a really solid team,” Wangen recounted. “It was quite deep and this year, you just have to learn some new things and get to know some new players and try to support them the best you can.”
“Every year I feel like there’s something different that Sarah brings to the table,” Packers girls hockey co-head coach Kendra Maxfield said. “She brings leadership, she brings consistency, she brings hard work. She’s one of those players that will never give up on you.”
As the season progressed, the senior found herself at the forefront of Austin’s offense. Wangen fired off 23 goals this year, the only Packer to score in double-digits all season. The captain added one more in the Packers’ playoff loss at Winona on February 7, bringing her total to 24. Amidst all the scores, Wangen’s impact on offense was a critical role she herself didn’t expect to be in.
“But oftentimes, she’s having someone help her,” Coach Maxfield added. “So, it’s really been a team effort and her generating a play and possibly finishing a play has been really important.”
“I would have thought myself as more of an assisting player all these years but things change, you know?” Wangen noted.
Despite Wangen’s example, the rest of the team is still very young with a massive underclassmen presence. The senior understanding as the season went on, they needed her more as a teammate than a player.
“I think it’s just trying to be patient with them, trying to guide them,” Wangen reflected. “Appreciate the time you have and appreciate the time with this team. Learn – keep learning.”
No matter the record, Wangen would not trade her past six years for anything. Even when things didn’t go the Packers’ way, it’s more what the journey has been for the senior. Now, she’s ready to bring her dedication with her to the next stop.
“You really have to love playing hockey, I think you really have to work through the bad things and the good things when they happen,” Wangen emphasized. “And I think taking time to appreciate those, looking forward to what’s coming next, this is where I’m at and it’s okay going forward.”