Lead Like Ganser

Holy Cross Athletics   12-05-2016

By Katherine Turner
Special to GoHolyCross.com

Becoming a member of a new team in college as a freshman is not necessarily the easiest transition. Fortunately for Madelyn Ganser (Needham, Mass.), she began her time at Holy Cross with the guidance of her sister Christine, who was a senior captain. From watching and listening to her sister, Ganser learned how to become a leader. While at Holy Cross, Ganser has also been highly involved in service. She participated in a medical ministry trip in Honduras, and is an active leader for Working for Worcester. Serving as a team captain, Ganser has the leadership skills both on and off the court that allow her to be an important role model for her team.



Basketball has been a major part of Ganser’s life, and has always brought her family together. Ganser’s oldest sister Katie played at Merrimack, while she joined her sister Christine at Holy Cross. Her parents attend all of her games, while her two sisters come to as many as they can. The three sisters have always been extremely close with each other. “Both of my sisters have definitely been role models for me and we always joke that we’re kind of the same person,” said Ganser. “I know I can ask them both for advice whenever I need it.”

Christine was a senior captain when Ganser was welcomed as a freshman. “I’ve definitely learned a lot from her in terms of what it takes to become a college athlete, and playing with Christine was amazing, I’m definitely applying what I learned from her this year as a captain,” said Ganser.

Now that Ganser is a senior, she reflects back on her time at Holy Cross with her sister, and understands how great of a leader Christine was. “Specifically, she was friends with everyone on the team, reached out to people, and in terms of basketball, she was an amazing leader even when she wasn’t playing, so I learned a lot from that,” said Ganser. Being the captain of a Division I team comes with a long list of responsibilities that Ganser has mastered. With her motivational attitude Ganser accomplishes what she needs to do in order to lead the team to be the best it can be.



Ganser, who is a 360 Leader in the Holy Cross Leadership Academy, has made a positive impact on her teammates. Fellow captain Tricia Byrne emphasized Ganser’s leadership role on the team. “Being the lone senior, Maddy represents the intangible values of Holy Cross basketball and sets the example that her teammates strive to meet,” said Byrne. “She is a vocal leader who influences her teammates to give their best every day. Maddy has a contagious attitude that forces others to match her intensity and is a constant motivator for her teammates.”

Holy Cross head coach Bill Gibbons has seen Ganser dedicate herself to the team. "With her sister Christine playing here, Maddy has been around our program for the last eight years,” said Gibbons. “Maddy embodies everything that this program stands for. Her work ethic, her leadership, her sense of community and being a woman for others on and off the court, make her a prototypical Holy Cross women's basketball student-athlete. She is selfless, and she does anything and everything she can for the purple and white."


Basketball is a huge commitment for Ganser, but she makes sure to keep herself involved elsewhere. This past summer, Ganser spent a week in Honduras for a medical ministry trip with a non-profit called Action for Education. She traveled with a group of Holy Cross students, and they spent the week setting up medical clinics throughout several towns in Honduras. A school was also created through Action for Education, which the students were able to visit. The group rode in the beds of trucks up to various villages throughout the mountains, immersing themselves into the culture. "Meeting new people and learning about their culture was inspiring,” said Ganser.

While she was able to assist people throughout the area she traveled, Ganser also got to know them on a more personal level. This made it more difficult for her to leave at the end of the trip. “I was only there for a week, and I knew that the help we gave them was not enough,” she admitted. “The trip reinforced my passion and my love for helping people. It allowed me to realize that by being on a team we have so many opportunities to give back to the community, and the trip to Honduras was a way to know how powerful that can be.”


Here in Worcester, Ganser continues her service with an organization called Working for Worcester. Her involvement is a way in which she emphasizes her role as a leader. The organization was founded in 2012 by two Holy Cross students who wanted to create a greater connection with the city in which they were living. The organization aims to encourage college students to improve recreation infrastructure and opportunities in Worcester. Last year she was a site leader which included formulating plans with other volunteers with ways in which they can improve parts of the city. “It’s a good way to give back to the community, and get involved with people who live here,” said Ganser.

"Maddy embodies everything that this program stands for. She is selfless, and she does anything and everything she can for the purple and white."
Head Coach Bill Gibbons

While you can be a part of the organization throughout the year, you can also volunteer for the day, which is how many Holy Cross teams participate. “Last year as a team, we worked on a playground outside of Tatnuck Magnet School. We repainted the playground, set up a bunch of flower beds, spread some mulch and painted inside.”

Working for Worcester is a great way to give back to the community in which many students do not get to experience within their four years on the hill. Ganser knows how much of an impact one can be in a community, and leads her team to participate in service right here in Worcester.

With the beginning of the season underway, Ganser is aware that this is her final year as a Crusader to shine. “Sometimes I still feel like I’m a freshman, and here I am a senior, graduating in a semester,” said Ganser. “Take in the little moments and appreciate them because it goes by fast.”

Ganser knows that she cannot take anything for granted, and with her leadership position on the team, she is able to pass this message along to her teammates. With encouragement and guidance from both of her sisters, and her involvement in service, Ganser is a role model in which her team looks up to, both on and off the court.


  • Holy Cross will host Penn State at the Hart Center at the Luth Athletic Complex on Wednesday, Dec. 7 at 7:05 p.m. To see the Crusaders host the Nittany Lions buy your tickets here.


  • Season and single-game tickets to see the Crusaders are on sale now. Make sure you don’t miss the opportunity to see the best collegiate basketball in Central Massachusetts! Tickets for Holy Cross basketball can be purchased online at GoHolyCross.com/tickets or over the phone by calling 1-844-GOCROSS.


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