Stranieri’s Dedication Never Wavers
It takes a lot of hard work and commitment, along with a handful of other skills, in order to be a successful three-sport athlete. This level of dedication is second nature to Westbrook junior Adriana Stranieri.
Adriana keeps herself busy throughout the school year as a member of three Westbrook teams. After completing her seasons with the girls’ soccer and basketball teams, Adriana is now in the midst of a solid junior campaign as a doubles player for the girls’ tennis squad.
Adriana has always loved playing sports. Adriana’s parents encouraged her to play both soccer and basketball as a youngster, and she’s been participating in both sports ever since. However, tennis came a little later. Adriana originally signed up for track and field in her sophomore year, but then changed her mind and decided to try something new.
“When COVID happened, I kind of had a change of heart to do tennis, because all of the girls I played with on the soccer and basketball teams all did tennis. I figured why not try it out?” says Adriana. “I absolutely love tennis, and I never looked back. I’m so glad I took the risk.”
The relationships that Adriana shares with her teammates are unlike any others. Adriana’s friends encouraged her to participate in three different sports and try tennis for the first time. Those teammates also made her transition to the court that much smoother and her experience all the more enjoyable.
“We all get along so well. I just wanted to stick with them,” Adriana says. “I was comfortable where I was with all the girls, and I didn’t want to switch to a whole new group of people.”
In addition to the constant comfort provided by her teammates, Adriana also motivates herself to perform her best throughout all three of her seasons. Adriana’s goal is to not only enjoy what she’s doing, but to also improve through honesty and accountability. The progression of Adriana’s play is an important part of her athletic career.
“I love to be coached and learn new aspects of the game. I like the feeling of getting better and seeing my progress,” says Adriana. “I feel like sometimes that’s how you have to get better and, if you’re not honest with yourself or your teammates, there’s no room for growth. That’s just why I am like I am.”
While she has three different head coaches between her three sports, Adriana feels fortunate to have a familiar face leading the way with the tennis team as Head Coach Paula Fitzgerald also serves as an assistant coach for the Westbrook girls’ basketball squad. The Knights have a record of 10-1 this season, and Adriana and senior Xan Zanzalari are contributing to Westbrook’s success with their performance at No. 3 doubles for Coach Fitzgerald’s club.
“She’s a true three-sport athlete. It’s those types of players that have a lot of different skill sets that, in big matches or big points, can come through,” Fitzgerald says of Adriana. “She has a really athletic mindset. She’s not afraid to step up when it’s close. I would put her with her partners against any other team in the league.”
Along with her strong showing on the doubles court, Adriana likes going to practices just as much as competing in matches. Adriana has a thirst for competition and, in Westbrook’s practices, she gets a taste of competition among her teammates as they all strive to improve their skills.
The Knights’ collective effort for success motivates Adriana to excel during her matches. Adriana knows that the relationships she shares with her teammates will last beyond their tenures in a Westbrook uniform, and she cherishes both the camaraderie and competition that they all get to share during the spring season.
“We all come together and feed off of each other’s energy, and we’re getting each other better. We’re always working on getting better,” says Adriana. “It’s a great atmosphere of friendship and competition.”
While her teammates give her motivation to improve, Adriana’s inspiration to be the best she student-athlete she can be also comes from her parents, John and Liz. Adriana’s parents have always been in her corner every step of the way throughout her career in all three of her sports.
“I’m the only child, so they always want to see me get better. They always come to my games, and I always want to play for them,” Adriana says. “I want them to be proud of me.”
Adriana brings the same work ethic that she displays in sports to the classroom and is always striving to get an A in every subject. Adriana’s accountability and high expectations for herself make the difference both in her athletic and academic endeavors at Westbrook.
While the reality of balancing three sports and an academic workload can bring stress, Adriana thrives under pressure. As she prepares for her senior year, Adriana is thinking about her future and is interested in either getting involved with real estate or going into the medical field. Adriana’s love of sports and the blessings they bring her make Adriana want to keep working hard to realize her potential in all walks of life.
“I fell in love with all of the sports. I love the sports so much, and I want to get better for my team,” says Adriana. “I always want to get better. It’s hard to be the best, but that’s where I aspire to be.”