Sandra Mastrangelo was seeking a change going into her final athletic season at Brown University.
The former White Plains standout softball catcher had played her first three years for the Bears, but the pull of something different was peaking her curiosity. As a result, Mastrangelo traded in the catching equipment and uniform for a bathing suit to play water polo.
Mastrangelo walked on to the Brown womens water polo team and is enjoying her final semester as a student athlete. Mastrangelo is also one of two players on the team who lives east of the Mississippi River.
I think the biggest reason I decided to play was that I wanted to challenge myself and learn something new, thats what Brown is all about, Mastrangelo said. I had one more year of eligibility left and I wanted to continue to play on a varsity team since it has been such an influential component of my undergraduate career. I didnt want to sacrifice being a part of this very special community.
Mastrangelo, a five-year starting catcher for White Plains and four-time all-section pick, asked Brown womens team coach Felix Mercado about trying out for the team last fall. Mercado granted Mastrangelo a tryout during the two-week preseason.
It was hands down the most difficult sport I had ever played, said Mastrangelo, who is majoring in cognitive, linguistic and psychological sciences with an interest in neuropsychology. And I absolutely loved being part of this incredibly challenging and motivating team environment.
Once Mastrangelo, who plays attacker, made the team, the fun began. She also realized, immediately, a most important rule about water polo.
Although I did use swimming as a means of cross training, I was never exposed to it in a more competitive setting, Mastrangelo explained. Two swim workouts a day combined with weighted ball leg sets in the water is incredibly exhausting. In water polo, you cant touch the pool floor so when you are not swimming, you have to eggbeater, which is a fancy technique used for treading water while keeping your upper body still.
Even though it has only been one season, Mastrangelo said it has been, absolutely incredible.
The team has been so welcoming and encouraging, Mastrangelo said. I feel so lucky to be part of this environment my senior year and so fortunate to have the opportunity to experience something that I had never been exposed to.
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