Weglos the rock for Upper Dublin girls basketball

Maggie Weglos remembers her eighth grade coaches telling her that the high school team at Upper Dublin wanted her to be a part of its team summer camp that year.

What Weglos didn’t know at the time is that she would be jumping from Sandy Run Middle Schools’ team right into the Cardinals’ starting lineup as a freshman. With one win in her next two games, Weglos would become the first four-year starter for coach Morgan Funsten to make states four consecutive years.

Weglos isn’t a typical four year starter, she’s not a high-volume scorer, she’s not a specialist or a towering presence. She just ties everything together.

“I base it off hustle and trying to be the person who sees the court as more visionary,” Weglos said prior to Monday’s practice. “I want to see which girl is on tonight and where is she making most of her shots. I look at how the defense is playing too and I’ll put together in my head different plays and passes that will work.”

Funsten has called the senior co-captain the rock of the team on several occasions. If Weglos isn’t on the floor, the Cardinals are a different team and there have been quite a few games the last four years where she hasn’t scored and has been the most impactful player in the game.

With Weglos, it’s all genuine. Funsten said everything the senior, who plays point guard offensively and guard’s the opposition’s best perimeter player on defense, does is for real and coming from the right place.

All the proof he needs comes off the court and around the school, where Funsten teaches math. He routinely has other teachers go out of their way to mention what a great student Weglos is or how much they enjoy having her in their class, many times not realizing that she happens to play basketball for Funsten.

“Nobody has a bad thing to say about her, she’s obviously a leader on our team but she’s also a leader in the school,” Funsten said. “She’s a great kid, she works hard. She’s decided not to play sports in college, so this is it for her and she’s making the most of it and she’s not looking forward to this season ending.”

The list of players Weglos has been tasked to guard over the years reads like an all-area team, with many of them playing in or going to play in college. It’s a rundown that includes names like Plymouth Whitemarsh’s Taylor O’Brien, CB West’s Maddie Burke, former North Penn guard Sam Carangi, former Cheltenham guard Ashley Jones, Archbishop Ryan’s Monee Moore and on and on.

It was that defensive ability that Funsten saw from Weglos in middle school and something’s she’s prided herself on immensely since first starting to play the game with her dad Mark and brother Zach at home. Weglos first started playing AAU with Fencor around fifth grade and credits her coaches there, Gary Christian and Joe Kosman, for setting that standard.

“I’m proud of how I play defense,” Weglos said. “I try to make sure I know what hand my girl is, what her strengths are, what her weaknesses are and I try to capitalize on those weaknesses. I’m trying to think, what does she want to do next and be a step ahead.”

Much like she does for Upper Dublin, Weglos provided a bit of everything for her Fencor team which included teammates like Souderton’s Alana Cardona, Lansdale Catholic’s Lauren Crim, Hatboro-Horsham’s Lexie Brett and CB South’s Natalie DiSandro and Maddie McShane.

Weglos called O’Brien and Jones the two toughest players she’s had to defend in high school, calling the skills of Jones, now at West Virginia, “insane.” She was formerly teammates with O’Brien and PW senior Ali Diamond, still counts both as close friends and said she was proud of how much O’Brien, bound for Bucknell, has excelled as a player the last few years.

“I grew up with it, I’ve always known how to play good defense and how to play disciplined so that’s had a major impact on me,” Weglos said. “Mr. Funsten has helped me a lot too. Coming in as a freshman, you’re scared especially being on varsity as a freshman, it’s very intimidating and he made it seem like I was important on the team and I wasn’t scared to make any mistakes. I was only worried about getting better.”

After the team’s district quarterfinal loss to CR North, Weglos and senior co-captain Nicole Kaiser did something none of Funsten’s other captains have ever done. The two asked to hold a player’s only meeting, frustrated the Cardinals had lost all their close games so far this season.

It’s the end of the line for Weglos, Kaiser and seniors Lindsey Schreiber and Kayla Wolf and they wanted to let their underclassman teammates know what opportunities they had in front of them. She didn’t realize at the time, but Weglos was speaking from a point of uncertainty.

“It’s what Nicole and I said in our talk to the girls, we didn’t want to go out of the season thinking I could have done more,” Weglos said. “It hasn’t hit me yet because I think we’re so in the mojo right now and we’re continuing to practice and prepare to play well. But it’s going to be sad when it’s over.”

Funsten’s classroom is always open and both his players and regular students frequently drop by for a quick visit. Weglos usually stops by a few times a week, he said and their conversations don’t always revolve around basketball.

“If I’m just walking in the hallways and think of something, I’ll pop in his room and ask a question that turns into a 30-minute conversation,” Weglos said with a laugh. “He’s always open to what anyone has to say.”

Last year, Funsten added more to Weglos’ plate by asking her to take over as the team’s point guard. The coach is admittedly toughest on his point guard given their role in the success or failure of an offensive possession but knew Weglos would be able to handle it.

From freshman to senior year, Funsten is most proud of how Weglos has grown mentally and can now shake off a mistake or a bad play right away. As an underclassmen, Weglos would let things stick and in basketball, that leads to compounding mistakes but now, she just keeps plugging away.

“You double that with having to play the best player on the other teams and Maggie knows at times I’ve been tough on her,” Funsten said. “Usually people just see the end of the play and the point guard doesn’t get the recognition for it, but she’s never cared. It’s probably why she was able to step in a start as a freshman, that team-first mentality and she’s a tireless worker.”

Funsten said Weglos’ best leadership trait is her ability to get along with everyone. She’s serious when she has to be, but the senior also has fun and does those goofy little things that go a long way in keeping a team together. For instance, this season, she and teammate Jess Polin are responsible for “activating” center Jackie Vargas before games.

Weglos just laughed when asked about it.

“It was one game, we always say ‘Beast Mode’ to her because she’s so dominant in the post, so we just pretend to hit a couple buttons and activate her before every game,” Weglos said. “We have to do it before every game or else you’ll never know what may happen.”

Weglos pointed to two memorable games, the first being in the district playback round last year when a huge block of students showed up to support the Cardinals against CB East and the other from her sophomore year against Cheltenham. In that second game, Weglos was able to keep Ashley Jones in check while teammate Josie Barrett, her best friend, twice hit a game-winning 3-pointer after a Funsten timeout wiped out the first one.

“He’s probably still salty about that,” Weglos said of Funsten.

For Funsten, the essential Weglos game came last year in their district playoff loss to CB West. Weglos in that game not only guarded Burke, but had her best offensive game by scoring 17 points in a furious comeback that fell short. After that game, a couple of college coaches commented to Funsten about the guard’s play.

They weren’t talking about her scoring however.

“What was so cool, and it was such a great message to send to the other kids in the program, they didn’t come up and ask ‘who’s Maggie Weglos?’ because she scored 17 points, they asked because her court presence and leadership skills were so impressive,” Funsten said. “It’s the message I try to get out to my girls. It was a great moment for an individual who is all about the team, even in a loss.”

Upper Dublin hosts CB East at 7p.m. Wednesday with the winner snaring a state bid and the loser having one last chance in a do-or-die game for the 11th District I state bid on Friday. She knows mom Cathy and grandpop Stan, who lives with them, will be in the stands and is hoping the student body shows out again, noting it’s the kind of environment the players want to play in.

Weglos had considered playing in college for a while, and was drawing some interest from a handful of schools including Holy Family. Eventually though, she realized playing college basketball is like a job and she wanted to experience something different in college.

The senior is attending James Madison University next year and is considering studying in the communications field while trying to keep sports a part of her life. It’s going to be a depature for the Dresher resident, who also played volleyball for Upper Dublin.

“I just want to experience my independence and learn more as a person,” Weglos, who chose JMU over Tennessee, South Carolina, East Carolina and others, said. “I just realized I wanted more of an experience as myself in college.”

More than anything, Funsten is going to remember someone who was happiest after her team won, even if she missed every shot and didn’t score a point.

“If you just focus on yourself and you don’t see yourself score that much, it just brings you down as a player and a person,” Weglos said. “The negative energy’s not going to help anyone and it’s not going to make your team want to be around you. I found playing with positive energy keeps everyone together and motivated.”

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Leave a Reply