New Jersey native Domonique Wirsing found her family away from home within the Montclair State University basketball team. Lone senior and captain Wirsing looks to lead her team to what will hopefully be their seventh straight New Jersey Athletic Conference (NJAC) championship.
“It feels great and exciting to lead these people in the right direction,” Wirsing said. “We have new pieces coming in, but it will be fun to see what we can do.”
Wirsing grew up in Kinnelon, where basketball always seemed to be around. Her father introduced her to the sport and remained an influence throughout her high school and college career along with her high school coach.
Although living on campus, she still relies on her parents to help clear her mind and knows they will always be there for her. Wirsing was always athletic but something really clicked with basketball.
“It always made sense to play,” Wirsing said. “It made me happiest.”
What helps keeps her sane is her teammates.
“Red Hawk culture is instilling everything, and we keep it all in the program,” Wirsing said. “We’re together all the time, have dates with newcomers and it helps adjust.”
Last year, the Red Hawks won their sixth straight NJAC championship despite having a small bench. After losing three key players that helped them through an incredible season, things looked unsure with seven incoming freshmen. Wirsing felt the opposite and welcomed them with open arms.
“It’s great to have more people,” Wirsing said. “We didn’t even have enough people last year to run certain drills. It’s all about heart in the end, and we set goals every day and work towards them.”
Wirsing knows how much responsibility being a captain is but making sure her team is comfortable with her leading them and having fun is her main priority.
“Being named captain is a huge honor and nerve-racking, but making sure the culture is kept is my main responsibility,” Wirsing said.
Besides the captains that have once led the Red Hawks, a big part of the program and culture is head coach Karin Harvey.
“I have so much respect for coach,” Wirsing said. “She’s unlike any coach I ever had.”
While Wirsing might have a lot on her shoulders, she sets time for her own goals and what she wishes to get out of the upcoming season.
“I want to do things I’ve never done before,” Wirsing said. “Some three-pointers would be cool and maybe a 4.0 GPA.”
When asked what she would look back on when her career at Montclair State has ended, Wirsing took a moment to answer. She did not want to believe it and felt like the reality of that has not set in yet.
“This is something that will never die,” Wirsing said. “I still want to be in touch with everyone. I am with alumni now, and it is weird to say that I will be an aluma.”
Basketball will always be a part of her life, even if she lives out her goal to be in the FBI. Of course she would love to make it back to the NJAC, especially during her final year.
Wirsing mentions how the sounds of fans help her stay focused and feels like she has gained some more family members.
“Fans’ energy helps,” Wirsing said. “You should all be at the games.”