WHS senior Vanessa Venditti signed her college commitment to play basketball at Rhode Island College. Venditti is surrounded by her parent’s Marco and Maria, along with WHS head coach Alexis Kaufusi and assistant coach Ryan Alger.
Wethersfield High School senior Vanessa Venditti is leaving WHS with a slew of athletic accolades, along with setting some lofty records on the courts.
Venditti, all-conference athlete in multiple sports, has committed to play college basketball at Rhode Island College (RIC) in Providence, RI.
Venditti called her next journey a “new path”, adding “It’s a fresh start for me to continue my career in basketball and it’s very exciting.”
During her time at WHS, Venditti made it rain triples on the local basketball courts, breaking the program’s all-time record for career three-pointers (181). This past season, she set a new single-season mark by canning 65 shots from beyond the arc, including a record seven in one game.
She could score in multiple ways, evidenced by her 933 career points, and she would have easily eclipsed 1,000 career points without the Covid-19 shortened season in 2020-2021.
First-year WHS head coach Alexis Kaufusi said that Venditti made her transition into the program a smooth one.
Kaufusi, who played college basketball at Brigham Young University, could relate with Venditti because she too had a new head coach during her senior year in high school.
“I told her the first or second day of practice that it is never easy to get a new coach during your senior year, but she bought into the program and she bought into the changes,” recalled Kaufusi. “She brought the team together and it was fun to see her become a leader of the group. She took that role as a senior captain and did an awesome job with it.”
Along with her excelling on offense, WHS assistant coach Ryan Alger said that Venditti was also fearless on the defense end, noting she holds the program’s “unofficial” record for most charges taken.
Venditti also starred on the soccer field, serving as a captain and all-conference goalie for a program that won three conference titles over the past four seasons. This past fall, she helped shutout 10 opponents as the Eagles achieved an undefeated regular season.
Playing for her hometown has been extra gratifying for Venditti, whose brothers Gianmarco and Christian Venditti were also star athletes for the school.
“I have been very involved in sports, whether it’s youth soccer or youth basketball,” stated Venditti, who was born and raised in Wethersfield. “My name is known because of my two older brothers and it’s been exciting to play for the town. It has meant more having Wethersfield on my chest.”
Protecting the net for the Eagles on the soccer fields was a bonus, but basketball was her first love.
From the age of three, Venditti had a basketball in her hands and has used the sport as both an avenue to college athletics and as a way to destress.
“If I’m having a bad day or something is going on, I can always go outside and shoot some baskets,” stated Venditti, who also played club basketball for the past six seasons. “It’s been that outlet. I don’t need anyone else, I just have myself and basketball has me.”
At her next stop, Venditti will be joining an Anchorwomen program that is coming off a Final Four appearance in the Division III NCAA tournament after winning 28 of 32 games this past season.
Kaufusi said that Venditti’s “competitiveness” and natural basketball abilities will allow her game to translate to college hoops, adding, “The game comes so natural to her. She does things that she doesn’t even realize she is doing and I think that is going to be huge for her as the next level. She will find ways to really help the team out.”
For Venditti, a four-year all-academic recipient, leaving Wethersfield will be challenging.
“I love the culture and community here,” she said. “If you have a good game, everyone hears about it and the next day you come into school and it’s really nice how everyone supports you.”
Luckily, she will be joining another welcoming culture in Rhode Island, playing for a program led by head coach Jenna Cosgrove, who has guided RIC to a handful of conference titles and won over 70% of her games since taking over the program prior to the 2017-2018 season.
“I’m excited, it’s a new chapter,” said Venditti, who will study sports sciences. “It can be fearful, but I am looking forward to it because it’s a new team, new teachers, new coaches and you get to adapt. Life is all about changing.”
Sports Editor for the Rare Reminder, Glastonbury Citizen, and Rivereast News Bulletin