Charting his own path has come with a set of complexities for Nate Meyer that most people never will face.
With two older sisters who went on to earn college scholarships to play volleyball, the Watterson High School senior fulfilled what he calls family "expectations" when he signed to play baseball for the University of Cincinnati earlier this school year.
Described by Eagles coach Scott Manahan as "a very humble young man, sometimes to a fault," Meyer also happens to be the son of one of the top coaches in college football.
You wouldn't necessarily know that his parents are Ohio State coach Urban Meyer and Shelley Meyer by talking with him, though.
"When Nate came to Watterson, it was the talk of the school," Manahan said. "The great thing about him is that you wouldn't know if his last name is Meyer, Smith or Jones. He came into our school not acting like he deserved anything because of who his parents are. ... You can see that his family has given him all the proper tools to succeed both on the field but also in school and also socially in the community."
A first-team all-district defensive back last fall for Watterson's football team, Meyer realized early in his prep years that baseball might be his best way to someday be a college athlete.
While mostly known for leading Florida to national championships in 2006 and '08 and Ohio State to the title in the first College Football Playoff in 2014, Urban was a 13th-round draft pick of the Atlanta Braves in 1982 and played two years of minor league baseball.
At the same time he was giving baseball a chance, Urban was playing college football for Cincinnati.
While Shelley competed in track and volleyball, Nate's older sisters, Nicki and Gigi, played collegiately for Georgia Tech and Florida Gulf Coast, respectively.
"I just think it's all genetics," said Nate, whose family moved to central Ohio at the end of his sixth-grade year after living in Florida for seven years. "None of us are artistic or musical. We just found our niche in sports."
The youngest of the clan, though, has enjoyed some of the benefits of being a part of the famous family.
"My mom is the mom of the year," Nate said. "With (my dad), there's the perks of getting to have really awesome experiences and really cool stuff to do, but he's just one of the best dads ever. He's always coming to my games and it's been awesome. I used to sit in the stands with my mom (during football games) and we'd come down at the end of games. But after one of the games (when Urban was coaching Florida), he said he wanted me down (on the sideline) with him, and I'm like, 'Sounds good to me.'
"I started playing football in seventh grade. Up until then, it was just flag football because that was the thing to do down there until tackle, which was in seventh (grade). As I got older, baseball seemed more of my path. I just grew in that sport and was just better at baseball."
Meyer has been a mainstay for the Eagles' baseball team since his freshman season. He batted .410 last season when Watterson was a Division II district runner-up and was hitting around .300 with 10 RBI through 15 games this season after a slow start.
Watterson was 10-8 overall and 3-3 in the CCL before playing St. Charles on April 30.
The Eagles lost to DeSales 5-0 on April 26 and beat Ready 9-1 on April 27 in league games before defeating Upper Arlington 9-6 on April 28 at Ohio State. They scored five runs against UA in the sixth inning, with Meyer hitting a bases-loaded triple.
"Nate is a very hard worker who is a leader in the way that he plays," Manahan said. "He plays the game with intensity and great drive. He's become an excellent defensive shortstop who has a powerful arm and has made some outstanding plays the past couple of years. His strength as a hitter has been a consistent batting average and being a gap hitter."
Meyer, who is 6-foot-1, 200 pounds, starts at shortstop for the Eagles but could end up playing third base or in the outfield for Cincinnati.
"We've been kind of talking about it, and I think I'm developing more as a third baseman," he said. "I guess we're going to figure that out as I keep maturing."
The Meyer family helped the Eagles get through the weather challenges of the past few months. In May 2017, Urban asked Manahan if the baseball team was in need of anything.
"I replied, 'Hitting facility,'" Manahan said. "(Urban) said, 'That sounds like a great idea. Let me run it by Shelley.'"
By late October, construction on a hitting facility that was a gift provided by the Urban and Shelley Meyer Family Foundation was completed to benefit both the baseball and softball programs.
"It helped toward the end of winter," Nate said. "We've been so much further ahead than we were last year with our hitting and even our pitching because we have some mounds in there."
Meyer is part of a senior class for the Eagles that also includes two others who will play at the college level in Josh Brobst (OF/P) and Cole Andrews (C), who have committed to Lake Erie and Miami University, respectively.
Through 15 games, Brobst had a team-high .417 batting average, followed by Adam Fallon (.333) and Noah Truax (.309).
Meyer had made one appearance on the mound through 15 games for the Eagles, whose pitching staff has been led by Jacob Wakefield (0.94 ERA in 22 1/3 innings) and Nick Hurley (3.54 ERA in 23 2/3 innings).
"We just want to make it as far as we can in the tournament, and hopefully that leads to a state championship," Meyer said. "We're getting ready."
Outfielders helping to lead softball team
The softball team sat atop the CCL standings midway through the league schedule.
The Eagles were 12-6 overall and 3-0 in the CCL before closing league action with games April 30 against DeSales, May 1 against Hartley and May 2 against Ready.
The outfield defense featuring Bekah Forshey in left field, Kristin Bricker in center and Gracie Bressoud in right has been a strength, along with the pitching of Nicole Funge, according to coach Emily Manahan.
"The nice thing about this team is that we don't have anybody that's the star, and if they don't show up, we're in trouble," Manahan said. "They kind of split the work up really well. A bunch of different kids are getting hits, our RBI are pretty spread out right now and our defense has been playing really, really well. You can't always rely on it, but our defense has really been working hard for us. Our outfield play has been outstanding. I don't know if I've ever seen in a high school season this many over-the-shoulder or diving catches on the line."
Girls lacrosse team tunes up for tourney
The girls lacrosse team snapped a four-game losing streak with a 14-13 victory over Westerville North on April 24.
Watterson was 4-8 overall before playing Gahanna on May 1 and was 1-4 in the Central Independent League after a 15-7 loss to Columbus School for Girls on April 26. The Eagles also lost to Hilliard Darby 13-11 on April 28.
"This year's schedule is much tougher than the last couple years," coach Joe Gavin said. "We've got a few games here that we've got a good chance of winning."
Senior Nina Buoni, who had 30 goals through 10 games despite missing two games, has been leading the offense.
Sophomore Abbey Giesler has been battling a back injury.
According to Gavin, junior Paige Parker, sophomores Margaret Baur and Emily Dixon and freshman Victoria Alves have been among the team's bright spots.
"We're pretty well balanced (offensively)," Gavin said. "We're so young. We're still figuring out our (defense) and who I can trust offensively."
Below are the coming schedules for the Watterson baseball, boys lacrosse, girls lacrosse, softball, boys tennis, track & field and boys volleyball teams:
May 3 -- Home vs. Hilliard Darby
May 4 -- Home vs. London
May 5 -- Home vs. Centennial
May 8 -- Home vs. 11th-seeded Granville or 22nd-seeded Columbus East in second round of Division II district tournament. Watterson is the eighth seed.
*May 4 -- At DeSales
*May 3 -- Hartley at Otterbein
May 8 -- Thomas Worthington at Otterbein
May 3 -- Home vs. Hilliard Davidson
May 4 -- At Pickerington North
May 9 -- Home vs. 15th-seeded Mount Vernon or 43rd-seeded Westland in second round of Division I district tournament. Winner plays fifth-seeded Delaware, 23rd-seeded Dublin Coffman or 44th-seeded Thomas Worthington on May 14 in district semifinal at a site to be announced. Watterson is the 12th seed.
May 3 -- Home vs. Olentangy Orange
May 7 -- Home vs. Whetstone
May 8 -- At Delaware
TRACK & FIELD
May 4 -- Larkin/Crosten Invitational at Upper Arlington
May 8, 10 -- CCL meet at Hartley
May 3 -- Home vs. Northland
May 7 -- At Westerville North