Reynoldsburg News

Hockey

Sheline finds right fit at Williston

Enlarge Image
CHRIS PARKER/THISWEEKSPORTS
Reynoldsburg resident Lizzie Sheline has moved to Massachusetts to attend Williston Northampton School to play hockey. "I thought it would be hard because I've never been to a new school, but it was pretty easy to settle in," said Sheline, who recently was home for spring break.
Buy This Photo
By

There have been few lazy moments this school year for Lizzie Sheline.

Not unlike many 17-year-olds, Sheline takes classes from morning until 3 p.m. and then participates in an athletic activity before dinner.

Mandatory studying from 8-10 p.m. every weekday has become a fact of life that not everyone her age endures, but the trade-off has been worth it.

No matter the requirements, she just can't pass up an opportunity to play hockey.

Sheline, who played for various club teams while growing up in Reynoldsburg, began attending Williston Northampton School in Easthampton, Mass., last September.

She lives in a dormitory at the upper school, which has about 450 students and strives to offer a challenging curriculum while also fielding more than 30 sports teams, including girls hockey.

"On my floor (in the dorm) there are three hockey players," Sheline said. "The majority of the hockey players live in a dorm, and we smell it up with our equipment."

In addition to playing for her school, she competes for the Connecticut Polar Bears club team.

Sheline, who attended Reynoldsburg schools from kindergarten through 10th grade, had heard about girls attending boarding schools to play hockey in other states.

The idea of following the same path came to fruition a little more than a year ago while she was a sophomore at Reynoldsburg High School.

Once she met Northampton hockey coach Christa Talbot through a Skype interview last February, she believed the school would be the right fit.

Although Sheline missed Northampton's deadline of January 2013 to register for this school year and still needed to go through its interview process, she later was accepted and began attending classes there Sept. 19.

Sheline said Easthampton is "probably like a Granville" and that it's "pretty tiny." Because of Northampton's academic workload and the transition period necessary to attend the boarding school for the first time, she is enrolled as a 10th-grader.

"I thought it would be hard because I've never been to a new school, but it was pretty easy to settle in," Sheline said. "For a while when I was (playing for a team) in Cleveland, I'd heard about girls that went to Minnesota and out east to go to school and play hockey, but I didn't think that would be me. I knew it would be a big transition and commitment. ...

"I wasn't having too great of an experience (with the Cleveland team), so I started looking at schools. One of my former teammates urged me to apply (at Northampton). They have always been known as a school that's actually very competitive in sports and I was kind of drawn to the school because of the coach."

Among the drawbacks were the school's $50,800 annual tuition and its distance from home.

Lizzie's mother, Lisa Sheline, works as a paraprofessional at Waggoner Middle School and her father, Brian Sheline, is a Columbus police detective.

With the help of financial aid, the Shelines enrolled their daughter at the school, which is about a 12-hour drive from home.

The family never doubted the educational and athletic opportunities the school would provide.

"At first I wasn't sure if I could handle the fact that she's gone, but you tell yourself that it's a great opportunity," Lisa said. "You don't want to say 'what if' 10 years down the road and have her wish her parents had let her go. This is the place she wants to be.

"Academically, we thought it would stupid if we didn't send her to this school. We went to a class with her there and we were just amazed. I knew she was going to be in a good place. It was an adjustment, but now it feels OK. Thank goodness for social media and Skype, and we can text her any time."

Lizzie's high school team competes in Division I of the New England Preparatory School Athletic Council.

The Wildcats went 15-6-3 during a season that began in early December and qualified for the postseason tournament, during which they lost to Concord (N.H.) St. Paul's 7-1 in a quarterfinal Feb. 26.

Lizzie took a few figure-skating lessons before deciding she might be more interested in hockey after watching her brother, 2011 Reynoldsburg graduate Jonathan Sheline, play the sport.

She has been playing hockey since she was about 5 and plays forward and right wing for her school and club teams.

"I've only gotten to see her play once (at Northampton), but we have a parent that lets me know what's going on," Lisa said. "She's not the best person on the team, so I think it puts a little bit of a fire in her. She loves being on the rink at school and loves hockey."

Northampton students, according to the school's website, are required to participate in "some type of afternoon activity" throughout the school year, so Lizzie played field hockey for the first time in the fall and may play tennis this spring.

After she graduates in 2016, college hockey could be in her future.

"It's kind of just surreal," Lizzie said. "I definitely don't take the opportunity for granted. It's great to not only play at such a competitive level, but it's great to get such a great education. The teachers are looking out for what's best for me and for my athletic future.

"Even on spring break, I was thinking about how I can't wait to get back and even go to class. I also play for the Connecticut Polar Bears, and we're playing in the regionals and hopefully nationals in the spring. It's such a different game. It's definitely a completely different level than what I had been playing at, just so much faster. Everyone takes it so seriously."

Comments