Wade Oursler is one of the Baltimore area's most outstanding athletes. Oursler played cornerback and wide receiver for the Greyhounds' football team -- a program that has established itself as one of the best in the nation. Oursler is also a standout midfielder for Gilman's lacrosse team, which is perennially one of the top teams in the Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association A Conference. Oursler is also an excellent student and has committed to play lacrosse at Air Force.
How does playing football at Gilman help you as a lacrosse player?
Wade Oursler: Gilman football has taught me many lessons that transfer to the lacrosse field. The phenomenal Gilman football coaches have taught me the importance of hard work, toughness, team unity and excellence. Furthermore, on the football team, we held each other to a high standard and held each other accountable for mistakes. Through this, we had a great mutual respect, and I believe that contributed greatly to our success. I look to carry these things with me and implement them on the lacrosse team. The physical aspect of football has helped me tremendously on the lacrosse field. [Former head] football coach Biff Poggi, as well as all of his great assistant coaches, always taught us the importance of playing at full speed and as hard as possible in practice, which lead to the great success we achieved on game days. More importantly, he taught us that every member of the team is important. From the superstars to the guy who doesn't get his jersey dirty on game day, everyone felt important. This led to a tight-knit team of close friends. I hope to utilize all the great lessons I learned in football on the lacrosse field this year.
What goals have you set for this season?
WO: Our goals for this season are the same for any Gilman athletic team: to win the league and beat McDonogh. Also, we want to give everything we have every time we step on the field, so that we never are left with the feeling of, "I wish I had done more." Furthermore, because our team is so close, we want to play every second like it's our last and do it for each other. Personally, I don't want to let my family, friends and school down. These are the people I love, and I can't think of anything worse than disappointing them.
Why did you choose to commit early to Air Force?
WO: Our conference touts some of the best teams in the country that are coached at the highest level. The MIAA has so many great players and teams from top to bottom, which makes it very competitive. The greatest challenge of playing in such a well-established league is that everyone is good. You have to be 100 percent ready to go every week to play at the highest level and compete. Everyone can win, from the traditional powerhouse teams to the young developing programs. So you have to play every game like it's your last.
I am truly blessed to have the opportunity to go to a school as prestigious as the Air Force Academy. From a young age, my parents have always instilled in me a sense of patriotism and the idea of being part of something greater than yourself. I love my country, and I am humbled to be able to serve what I consider to be the greatest country in the world. When I went on my first visit to Air Force, I fell in love with it immediately. I knew from the second I stepped on campus and met with the coaching staff that it was the place for me. Even though I had to make this decision as a first semester sophomore, I knew I would never regret it.
How did Gilman prepare you for the rigors of the Air Force Academy?
WO: The academics at Gilman are second to none, and I feel very prepared for the transition to the rigors of college. The teacher-coach-model that Gilman emphasizes really creates good relationships between the teachers and the students, both in the classroom and on the field. This makes it very easy to seek out teachers for extra help because of the multidimensional relationship. Also, the heavy workload that Gilman places on us should help the transition to a top academic college a lot easier. On the field, the coaches hold us to high standards and command that we play as hard as we can every day. Playing for Coach Brooks Matthews especially has been beneficial to me. The upbeat attitude and intensity he brings to practice every day helps everyone on the team get better and grow as players. After three years playing for Coach Matthews, I'm extremely confident that I'll be ready for the next level. Overall, Gilman has been great for me, both on the field and in the classroom, and I feel very prepared for the next level.