LEADER BY EXAMPLE: Panthers' Janik A Monster On Field, Compassionate Off It
WHEN SHE WAS IN THE FIRST GRADE, RIDGE POINT SENIOR GRACE JANIK BROKE HER WRIST AND WAS PUT INTO MULTIPLE CASTS AND SPLINTS AFTER FALLING OFF A TRAMPOLINE.
A few weeks into the summer swim season, she was upgraded to a smaller cast that was waterproof and allowed to swim.
“I not only won some individual races, but helped my team win relays,” Janik said. “I will always remember one of my winning races that my dad filmed. As I’m getting out of the water, you can hear this little kid shout, ‘That girl won, and she ev has a cast on her arm!’
“Even from a young age, I was extremely competitive and loved to win.”
That fiery determination has defined Janik, now a star outfielder for the Panthers.
The McNeese State-signee hit .520 with 62 RBIs, 10 home runs, and 13 stolen bases for Ridge Point last season, breaking the program record for single-season RBIs and homers.
After what Panthers coach Lindsey Gage said was an “unreal” season, Janik is hoping for more this Spring.
“I hope I can better myself this season, not only as a player, but as a person to prepare myself to play at the next level,” Janik said.
Janik’s signature moment in her high school career so far came during the BiDistrict playoffs last season, when the underdog Panthers upset favored Tompkins in the best-of-three series.
In the third and decisive game, Janik delivered a crushing grand slam over the left center field wall to blow the game open and advance Ridge Point.
“I felt on top of the world,” Janik said.
Janik is a naturally-gifted athlete. She is quick and decisive with her movements, displaying remarkable agility and skill for someone who stands a rangy 5-foot-8. Janik has long legs but is deceiving with her speed. She credits 11 years of swimming for her athletic prowess.
Off the field, Janik enjoys cooking and baking. Chicken fried rice is her specialty. She is also in her second year working with the Gulf Coast Leukemia and Lymphoma society.
Janik was nominated as a candidate in the 2022 Students of the Year campaign. Over a sevenweek period, she will lead a team to raise money and awareness for the disease.
“It has motivated me to really want to help more people,” Janik said. “I have learned many life skills from this program, and I hope to put them to good use in becoming either a neonatal nurse or a nurse anesthetist.”