The journey of a Pioneer

Carie Weinman
Carrie Weinman practices free throws on her home court at Glenbrook South.

By Katy Winge

As early as second grade, people paid attention to Carie Weinman on the court. Long-time basketball fans and referees who know the game, approached her family and said she is going to play at the next level.

“Right from the get-go,” said her father, Paul Weinman. “They just knew.”

They were right. The 5-foot-9 shooting guard is the third leading scorer in Glenbrook South history with over 1,300 points in her career. She’s the all-time leader in steals, averaging close to five per game as a Titan. As a senior, Weinman was recently named a McDonald’s All-American Nominee. Shortly after graduation, the Glenbrook South star will head west to play Division I basketball as a Pioneer at the University of Denver – an unlikely choice for someone with asthma.

Weinman spent her early childhood in and out of hospitals. When she was very young, she had Respiratory Syncytial Virus, or RSV. At nine days old, she nearly died after her lung collapsed. Now before games, Weinman uses an inhaler. Denver is known for the altitude — a tough training environment for athletes without respiratory problems. But the Weinman family is confident Carie’s focus and determination, that through the years has earned her the nickname “robot,” will continue to guide her.

“Right away when she was little, she’s taken care of herself…she potty-trained herself!” said Heidi as she laughed. “…There’s no way an illness was or would hold her back.”

When her sisters played in the grade school Park District league, Weinman made her presence known. As the youngest of three girls, she always wanted to do whatever her sisters did.

“She was a little rugrat running around at halftime when her sisters were the ones actually on teams,” said Daniel Weinman, Carie’s Grandpa.

Once Weinman was old enough to be on a team of her own, her grandpa remembered sitting next to a specific fan in the audience. Unaware of Daniel’s relation to Carie, the man pointed her out and said, “see that girl there? She’s got court sense.” Daniel said even that man, a random stranger, could tell that back then.

Weinman grew to love the game, without realizing how far it could take her.

“I just remember it being fun,” she said. “I never really thought ‘I’m going to do this for the rest of my life or anything like that.'”

As soon as she was old enough, the three Weinman girls started playing in their driveway. Her competitive nature took over, and Carie said her drive to beat them one-on-one was a reason she worked so hard through the years. During this time, she played for the Miracle Travel Team, the Glenbrook South Basketball Jr Titans and the Springman Middle School Team.

Her practice and commitment paid off – and as a freshman in high school she started on varsity, becoming the third and final Weinman on the Glenbrook South roster. Sometimes all three girls shared the court, competing as over half of the Titan team.

“To watch them as young ladies come together on a team,” said Heidi Weinman, Carie’s mother, as she became teary-eyed. “It was awesome…a real proud moment.”

Also in high school, Weinman continued playing for her Amateur Athletic Union (AAU) team, which she first joined in sixth grade. She said her program, Full Package, (now known as All-In Athletics) assisted in building relationships that would ultimately play a big role in her past, present and future basketball career.

Weinman said her AAU coach, Kahleaf Russell, is like a brother to her, and contributed to making her the player she is today. And All-In Athletics teammate Clarie Gritt, knows her well on both ends of the floor — as she’s played with and against her.

Weinman and Gritt pose for a picture after playing against each other at Glenbrook South. (Katy Winge/MEDILL)

It’s not too often the leading scorers on opposing high school teams embrace after a close game. Gritt, the leader of the top ranked Hersey team, met Weinman at half court of the Glenbrook South gym. The two lit up and instantly giggled, discussing the highs and lows of the game GBS won 42-39.

“It’s definitely better having her on my team than having her on the other team,” Gritt said as she smiled.

From teammates to opponents…and now back to teammates again. Gritt also committed to continue her basketball career at the University of Denver this upcoming fall.

The Mile-High city will present new challenges for Weinman. Her mom said there was a point when the doctors didn’t think she was going to make it.

“It was difficult,” Heidi said. “But she didn’t complain. And she’s like that today. She does whatever she needs to do to get the job done.”

Photo at top: Weinman practices her free throws on her home court at Glenbrook South. (Katy Winge/MEDILL)