Next Level Seniors: Mandy Sisul Shoots for Optimism and Opportunity at Central Washington University


Reilly Smith

Sisul will attend Central Washington University which is located in Ellensburg, Washington.

Avery Rush, Assistant Editor

Whether she is conquering college basketball or working towards a communications career at NBC, senior Mandy Sisul said that she will approach her goals while paying gratitude to those who help her get there.

Sisul will attend Central Washington University next year, where she will play college basketball at the Division II level. She is part of a select few seniors at La Salle who have signed to play sports at the collegiate level, students The Falconer showcases in the Next Level Seniors series.

For Sisul, the dream of playing college basketball was not one that began recently. Since middle school, she said that she has imagined what that dream might look like, and now, it is becoming a reality.

“I started being surrounded by collegiate athletes more often and it was just something I was always kind of drawn to,” Sisul said. In middle school, Sisul started playing club basketball, which was what sparked her consideration for a more serious athletic career.

Once Sisul was a sophomore, she focused on reaching out to schools and sending coaches videos of her playing. After months of persistence, and as her junior year began, she said that she slowly received responses.

Those countless nights spent working on applications and emailing coaches is something Sisul said she never could have done without her dad’s support. 

“I don’t think I would be in this position if it wasn’t for him,” Sisul said. “The amount of work that he helped me do to reach out to coaches on nights when I didn’t want to do it — he would tell me how important it is, that I need to do this.”

Sisul is looking forward to the college environment at CWU, which she described as a town that centers around the heart of the college. “A lot of the restaurants and stores, they’ll have posters of the teams and that kind of stuff,” she said.

CWU is located in Ellensburg, Washington, which is just north of Yakima. The athletic conference that her team participates in competes against other colleges located in the Pacific Northwest.

Sisul said that she is also anticipating a welcoming experience, as the basketball team is led by an all-women coaching staff and is made up of players who match her energy and love for competition. “I feel very blessed and lucky to be in the position I’m in to be able to go to such a good program,” she said.

As Sisul prepares for a higher level of competition, she said that she plans to give her senior basketball season everything she’s got — especially since she feels that her team has something to prove.

“A lot of people have had a lot to say about us,” Sisul said. “So I’m really looking forward to the opportunity to display all the work that the girls have been doing.”

Sisul feels that the most challenging aspect of basketball is the mental toughness required to bounce back after a mistake. “The mental side of basketball is so intense,” she said. “If you make a mistake on offense or defense, you have to just move on to the next play.”

Recovering from failure is a skill Sisul feels she has gotten better at through experience. “I would say my mental toughness over the years has improved,” she said. “I know that such an important part of the game is not letting the mistakes kind of come back and haunt you.”

In regards to her academic goals in college, Sisul originally did not have a strong preference in terms of which school she attended, as long as it allowed her to move further towards her dream job. She will major in communications, and her “dream right now is to work at NBC,” she said.

Although Sisul is thrilled to be attending CWU in the fall, she does feel slightly nervous about all of the changes to come. “It’ll just be an adjustment to move from somewhere where I’ve been very comfortable, something that I’ve known for four years,” she said.

No matter where Sisul ends up, she feels confident that basketball is something that will always be a part of her. “I don’t think I’ll ever be able to just see a basketball and not pick it up,” she said.