Student Standouts: 4.6.22
Ellie Paloucek of Webster Groves High School
If you don’t find Ellie Paloucek on the soccer field, check the basketball court. The Webster Groves High School senior has distinguished herself in both sports. Next fall, she’ll continue her soccer career as a Billiken at Saint Louis University. We checked in with the young athlete about her love of the game and what she’s taking away from her high school career.
When did you start playing soccer?
I started when I was really young. My older siblings were involved in soccer, so I would play with them. We’d go to their games, and I’d watch with my parents. I remember wanting to be part of the action so bad! When I did start playing myself, my first club team was actually a boys team. It was a bit of a strange experience, and the team was very competitive. I remember standing out because I was a girl, but it wasn’t really a problem because I could play at the same level as the boys.
How did you get involved in basketball?
My older siblings played basketball as well, and my dad was really into coaching. I played on a YMCA team with my friends, and he was the coach. When I was younger, one of my best friends and I also went to one-on-one training together for a few years.
What is your favorite part of playing either sport?
I think just being with people. With team sports, it’s about working together to win. I also like the commitment of going to practice every day and working to get better. It’s something you can rely on.
How did the pandemic affect your career as a high school athlete?
When I found out my sophomore season had been canceled, I wasn’t sure what to do at first, but I took things into my own hands. I ran and made sure I touched a soccer ball every day. It was hard not being in a setting with the whole team, but I tried to handle it on my own.
Have there been any highlights of your senior year?
One of the biggest things is that I went to state a few weeks ago for basketball. Both the Webster Groves girls and boys teams qualified. We ended up placing third, but the boys won. It was great to get to go together, having two teams on the bus, experiencing success together and being a part of school history.
What do you enjoy doing in your free time?
In my free time, I’m a big family girl. I love hanging out with them. I have a little nephew who I especially enjoy spending time with. I also babysit most weekends, and I like to hang out with my friends. My school has an entrepreneurship incubator, and I run a sticker business called Stickable through it with a partner. I enjoy that.