|Lucia Westrick poses with her team after they won the 2014 MHSAA Division 4 championship. She is standing, third from the left, next to her coach, Erin Van Wagoner.|
This article was reprinted with permission from the Michigan Catholic
newspaper. The article originally ran on April 17, 2014.
by Don Horkey
Clarkston — Credit has to go to Vic Michaels, Catholic
League director of athletics, for pointing me in the direction
of Lucia Westrick.
“You have to see her play basketball,” he
told me. “She’s tough — and she’s going to be
I know about those kind of nuns. I
had one in the fourth grade who could have been
a fullback for the Lions.
But that’s a story for another
time. This one is about an 18-year-old popular senior at
Everest Collegiate who may or may not be a nun
someday, but who has a clear-headed idea of what life
is all about and its ultimate goal.
“Passion” is a very
important word in Lucia’s vocabulary.
“I have a passion for basketball,”
she says, remarkable considering Lucia (pronounced Loo-cee-ah) didn’t play anything
close to organized ball until she arrived at Everest two
years ago as a junior.
“I recognized her athleticism,” said coach
Erin VanWagoner. “She worked extremely hard to be good.”
game for the Mountaineers pretty much exemplified the pivotal role
she played in the school’s highest advance in the state
tournament, winning district and regional trophies to qualify for the
quarterfinal stage, where she scored 14 points and grabbed a
dozen rebounds in a seven-point loss to eventual finalist Marine
City Cardinal Mooney.
The state girls basketball coaches association acknowledged Lucia
with a “special mention” in its all-state selections.
What is truly
special about this young lady is her outlook on life.
“My No. 1 passion is my passion for Christ,” she
She is second oldest of 15 children, ranging in age
from 20 years to 8 months, of Richard and Cheryl
Westrick, of New Bavaria, Ohio, about 50 miles southwest of
Toledo. The children are home-schooled. “There is no Catholic school
near where we live,” explains Cheryl, who converted to Catholicism
a year before she and her husband, who works at
a General Motors plant, were married 22 years ago.
imagine life without all of the different personalities,” Lucia says.
“It’s my greatest gift.”
|Photo courtesy of the Michigan Catholic.|
She “loves” telling about the time
when she received her first Communion, “how I felt Christ
invited me to follow Him closely.”
At the age of 13,
“I decided to give God the first chance at my
life, to find out what He wants of me.”
in the Immaculate Conception Program in Rhode Island for high
school students interested in the consecrated life of the lay
women’s Regnum Christi movement. When the school closed for financial
reasons in 2012, Lucia and 10 others were transferred to
The “very sudden” move was “difficult” to understand, Lucia
says, but it was made all the easier to accept
by the “warm welcome” they received at Everest.
The girls follow
Everest’s academic program and slate of extracurricular activities, while boarding
at the consecrated women-operated Family Retreat Center in Oxford. The
typical schedule calls for a 5:45 a.m. rising, Mass, and
then being bussed to Everest for classes. They return to
Oxford between 6-7 p.m. for an evening of study, prayer
and lights out at 9 p.m. Obviously, accommodations were made
for Lucia to play basketball, which normally are night games.
isn’t “bothered” that she doesn’t participate in such activities as
proms, homecomings and the like. “What I give to Christ,”
she says, “when I get to heaven, the sacrifices I
make will be worth it.”
Lucia’s mother isn’t surprised by her
daughter’s singleness of mind. “She’s always been very strong-willed when
she believes in something.”
Adds VanWagoner, who also is the school’s
dean of students: “Lucia is a very genuine individual, confident
in whatever she does.”
By the time you read this, Lucia
and her fellow seniors will have returned from their class
trip to the Holy Land during Holy Week.
After graduation day
May 18, Lucia will consider a handful of options about
playing college basketball.
But whatever she decides, “Christ will continue to
be the center of my life.”