A few years from now, Abby Davies figures she might be in a lab working on some sort of prosthetic device or with artificial organs as part of the biomedical engineering field.

Becoming a successful technician in whatever area she ends up specializing in won’t be anything new to the Newark High School senior, who could end up being the valedictorian of her 2018 class.

While focusing on academics always has been her biggest priority, she has succeeded on the soccer field like few others at her school — or even in central Ohio — have over the last several years.

“Soccer is the first sport my parents put me into and the first sport they put my sister into,” said Davies, a forward. “I played volleyball and I ran cross country before, too, but nothing has ever made me as happy as soccer has. I’ve played pretty much year-round since I was 5.”

She believes the same work ethic that has helped her rank No. 1 in her class academically came partially from her experiences developing into a soccer standout at the club level and for the Wildcats.

During Newark’s 5-2 loss to New Albany on Sept. 12, Davies scored her 146th career goal to pass 2016 Granville graduate Nikki Cox for the all-time mark among Licking County players.

Heading into Newark’s game Sept. 14 against Johnstown, Davies had 20 goals through seven games. Her team was 4-3 overall and 0-1 in the OCC-Capital Division.

“I’ve known her family for a long time, and she’s got a great attitude,” coach Scott Nichols said. “Really it’s the desire and the willingness to want to get better (that sets her apart).”

Not much has changed over the years for Davies, who has lived in the same house her whole life in addition to playing competitive soccer for most of it.

When including her older sister’s exploits, soccer has been a big part of her family’s life since even before Davies can remember.

Al Davies, a 2011 Newark graduate, held the Licking County record for career goals with 108 before getting passed by Cox and went on to play for Purdue University.

“(Soccer has provided) a bonding experience with my sister because it’s something big we have in common to grow up with,” Abby said. “We’ve gotten closer over it.”

Abby was named the OCC-Ohio Player of the Year as a freshman but might have had her best prep season to date a year ago when she scored 51 goals. She scored her 100th career goal in September of her junior season and entered this year with 126.

During a 5-3 victory over Reynoldsburg on Aug. 29, Davies had a second-half hat trick as her team rallied from a 2-0 deficit a year after it tied the Raiders at 5.

Newark went 6-9-2 last season but posted winning records in each of Davies’ first two seasons.

“Just based on the people here, it might be the best team I’ve been on in my four years,” Davies said. “I think we have a good opportunity ahead of us to probably do really well in our conference if we just work for it. We have a lot of new players and young players who are trying to catch on and learn the high school game because it’s completely different than middle school.”

Balancing academics and athletics is something Davies has done successfully, although it hasn’t always been easy.

“With my busy schedule, it’s kind of crazy,” Davies said. “Especially last year, I played soccer in Columbus five days a week, and this year I wanted to take a step back from it and focus on school. Last year it was super hard to balance with soccer and traveling all the time. There was a time I was gone every weekend for months.

“(Soccer has) given me a lot of opportunities to meet new people that I definitely would not meet otherwise. I have so many friends in Columbus and out of state and even out of the country that I’m super glad to have. That, and the work ethic I’ve gained from it, just having to work harder and harder every day to get better, I think those are the best two things.”

Davies might have soccer in her college future as well, but likely only at the club or intramural level.

With the hope of going into an engineering program at a school like Northwestern or Michigan, she’s planning to keep academics as her No. 1 priority.

“I’m not sure if I really want to play soccer (in college),” Davies said. “I kind of just want to focus on my academics because academics are super important in my life. I’ve committed so much of my life (to soccer that) I want to see what else is out there.”

julrey@thisweeknews.com

@UlreyThisWeek