DANBURY — Marin Wiltse built her lacrosse career from the ground up. She started in the 6th grade when her mother introduced the sport to her with the thought that it would be perfect to pair with Wiltse’s aggression.
Once she got to Danbury High School, Wiltse knew she was not yet varsity material. So she practiced. She joined the Yellow Jackets North club team, played every chance she could and worked on her stick skills. She made varsity her sophomore year, but broke out this past season as a defender.
“It was really once I hit my junior year I began to feel comfortable and be able to truly benefit my team,” Wiltse said.
She is part of a Danbury team that has been working toward climbing the ranks of the FCIAC, led by coach Jaime Williams, who also coaches Wiltse in the Yellow Jackets program. Despite falling in the first round of this past season’s CIAC state tournament and missing out on the FCIAC playoffs, the team has high hopes for where the program is headed, and Wiltse will be able to contribute to those goals for one more season as she prepares for her senior year.
“The fact our program has been rising as a competitor has made our team work so much harder,” she said. “We now understand we have a lot to prove, which makes us work three times as hard in the off season. Each year the team gets more excited to win and work together, and I hope that our team becomes a serious threat in the FCIAC, to the point even teams like Darien and Wilton are scared to play us.”
In order for this to happen, Wiltse knows that she needs to continue to get better, which is why she joined the Yellow Jackets between her freshman and sophomore seasons.
“Yellow Jackets has definitely been the source of my improvement,” she said. “They require a higher level of lacrosse, which has forced me to raise my own level of playing.”
Wiltse joins a few of her other Danbury teammates there, and having them around as well as Williams is a valuable part of that improvement.
“Having Coach Williams as a coach all year round has been amazing,” she said. “It allows me to learn new techniques that I know can be transferred into my high school season.”
Although Wiltse started out as a midfielder, she has found her niche on defense, which has been a great fit for her aggressive style of play.
“Personally, I have always been aggressive, so ground balls and interceptions are my favorite skills,” she said. “I’m trying my best to improve my one-on-one defense, which will definitely be critical this next year, and I’m also working on more controlled checks.”
Wiltse is getting ready for her senior year at Danbury, which puts a lot on her plate not only in terms of lacrosse. She also plays field hockey for the Hatters in the fall, and is getting ready to apply to colleges that will set her up in a good position for medical school. While she has hopes to play at the collegiate level on a varsity team, she has decided to put her schoolwork first, and will definitely be playing club if all else fails.
“I would love to play in college,” she said. “I am mainly focusing on high school at the moment, because that’s where I am right now and where I want my team to succeed.”
Wiltse prides herself on being a well-rounded person. She likes to read, she volunteers and she hangs out with her friends like any other high school student. What sets her apart from others is her work ethic, her journey to a varsity career and her passion for the sport of lacrosse.
“Lacrosse has always been my outlet,” she said. “It’s my happy place, where I can be competitive and have fun with people that become like a second family.”
As she looks back on some of the turning points that she has been a part of on her Danbury team, one game in particular came to mind. When the team played New Milford this past season, the Hatters won on a goal in the last seven seconds of play. Wiltse played tough defense and hustled for every ground ball and interception that she could get her hands on.
Moments like this are what have driven Wiltse and her teammates to get better and to keep improving as a program, and she has one more year to contribute on the field.