Based solely on the score, Kate Hennessey's first game as a midfielder for the Upper Arlington High School field hockey team was a success.
Acting as a go-between for the Golden Bears' offense and defense after spending most of the last two-plus seasons as a defender, the junior eased into her new role and even scored a goal as the Bears defeated visiting Olentangy 5-0 on Sept. 25. The move was part of a team-wide shuffle instituted by coach Kelly Roderick after a 2-3-1 start.
Considering what Hennessey has to do simply to breathe normally and play the sport she loves, such a change might have been the easiest part of her day.
Hennessey has cystic fibrosis, a life-threatening, inherited disorder that causes thick, sticky mucus to build up in the lungs and digestive tract and makes patients more susceptible to lung infections.
She undergoes about 90 minutes of treatments per day, including being attached to a machine that shakes her body in an attempt to dislodge mucus from her lungs and ease her breathing, and takes medication that helps thin mucus.
"It's definitely harder running. My lung capacity is smaller, so running is harder and I cough more when I'm running," said Hennessey, who played varsity as a freshman and has started the last two seasons. "It's harder to breathe, but I don't notice it unless I am sick or have a lung infection."
Hennessey's 21-year-old brother, Matthew, also has the disorder. Their parents, Tom and Marie, play host to a benefit each September to raise money for finding a cure.
"A lot of our players went to that, and I think that meant a lot to Kate," Roderick said. "Kate is a tremendous athlete. She has to go through a lot, which makes her a strong person, just to be able to step on the field. It shows what an incredible drive she has to play field hockey and how much she loves the game."
Hennessey was diagnosed at age 3 but never gave a second thought to not playing sports. She picked up field hockey in seventh grade and hopes to play in college, possibly at Georgetown, where her mother played.
"I have never been held back. I'm definitely a doer, never a quitter," Hennessey said. "I think (having cystic fibrosis) helps me. It pushes me to persevere a lot more. It's how I overcome things. I can do this and nothing's going to hold me back."
Among other personnel changes, Roderick moved a few players from forward to defense and promoted junior goalkeeper Anna Ferraro from junior varsity to split time with junior incumbent Alee Caldwell.
UA snapped an 0-3-1 stretch with its win over Olentangy and almost equaled its scoring total prior to that contest. The Bears had just seven goals in their first six games, and followed their victory over the Braves with a 7-2 win over Dublin Scioto the next day.
UA was 5-4-1 overall and 3-2-1 in the Central Ohio Field Hockey League-West Division after defeating Olentangy Orange 7-0 on Sept. 30.
"We had a lot of difficult games and I think we broke down," Roderick said. "It was hard for them to get their mental focus back, but we've been working hard to, I guess, work on those things and work as a team."
Girls tennis team places second in OCC
Not even a bum shoulder could stop sophomore Olivia Kompa of the girls tennis team from winning an OCC championship at third singles.
Kompa went 2-0 in the conference's inaugural first-place tournament Sept. 28, defeating New Albany's Carol Vitellas 7-5, 6-3 in the final after beating Pickerington Central's Nikkia Thompson 6-0, 7-5 in a semifinal.
"She actually served underhand (Sept. 28) just to help out with her shoulder," coach Shaun Stamps said of Kompa. "We're just protecting her, really, getting her healthy for our bigger matches down the road. She fought hard and did everything we asked."
UA earned 13 points to finish second behind Dublin Jerome (17) and ahead of New Albany (12) and host Central (8). The champions of all four divisions played for the overall conference title for the first time. Teams earned four points per first-place finisher, three points for second, two for third and one for fourth.
The Bears went 7-0 (39 points) to finish first in the OCC-Central, marking their 25th consecutive league championship.
Kompa was the only UA player to reach a championship match in the first-place OCC tournament. Junior Audrey Berger and freshman Kyra Jung went 1-1 at first and second singles, respectively, and placed third. The first doubles team of senior Beniva Ganther and freshman Anna-Marie Reynolds and the second doubles team of seniors Emily Flitcraft and Katie Schoedinger both finished third.
The Bears were 14-1 overall after defeating Central 4-1 on Sept. 30. They played New Albany on Oct. 2 in an Ohio Tennis Coaches Association Division I district semifinal, with the winner playing Jerome or Olentangy Orange in a district final on a date to be announced.
UA plays host to a Division I sectional Thursday, Oct. 3, and Saturday, Oct. 5, with the top four finishers in singles and doubles advancing to district Oct. 11 and 12 at Hilliard Davidson.
At sectional, Flitcraft, Kompa and Weeks will play singles, with Berger and Jung playing first doubles and Ganther and Reynolds playing second doubles.
Boys golfers looking to return to district
Seeded fifth of 39 teams in the district in Division I, the boys golf team competed in a sectional Oct. 1 at Granville Golf Course. The top three teams and top three individuals not on qualifying teams advanced to district Tuesday, Oct. 8, at Apple Valley.
Among the teams at Granville were second-seeded Jerome and sixth-seeded St. Charles.
The top three teams and top three individuals not on qualifying teams at district advance to state Oct. 18 and 19 at Ohio State's Scarlet Course.
UA, which has won 17 state championships, placed fifth at district last year.
The Bears finish the regular season Saturday, Oct. 5, in the Dublin Jerome Honorary Invitational at Kinsale.
Girls golfers hoping to extend season
The girls golf team was seeded ninth of 32 teams in the district in Division I and competed in a sectional Oct. 1 at Westchester.
The top three teams and top three individuals not on qualifying teams advanced to district Tuesday, Oct. 8, at The Links at Groveport. The same number of teams and individuals will advance from district to state Oct. 18 and 19 at Ohio State's Gray Course.
UA is seeking its first state berth as a team since advancing five consecutive seasons from 2005-09.
Freshman Sophie Hemleben shot a 39 on Sept. 26 as the Bears defeated Lancaster 178-199 in a dual match at Valley View.
UA finishes its regular season Saturday, Oct. 5, in the Pickerington North Fall Classic at The Links at Groveport.