Riley Welsheimer is back to being carefree on the field for the Westerville North High School girls soccer team.
The junior forward, who suffered a concussion during her eighth-grade season that had her wary of going up for headers in practices or games, has helped lead the Warriors to records of 5-5-1 overall and 1-1-1 in the OCC-Buckeye Division before playing Westerville South on Oct. 3.
"I had a really bad concussion that I got playing soccer in the eighth grade," Welsheimer said. "I went up for a header and a girl came up and got the back of my head. I don't remember the rest of the game.
"I was a little gun-shy at first, but not anymore. When I came back I was a little scared to go in for headers for fear that someone would come up and get me, but I'm definitely not afraid of that anymore. We haven't been very good in the air this season, so for the past couple of weeks we have been training on headers. I've been all right with that."
Welsheimer, who has a 4.2 GPA, had lingering effects from the concussion that required therapy with playing cards.
"I had to go to physical therapy for my brain," she said. "For homework, I was given some playing cards and I would hold them out (to the side) ... and try to read then. When I would read, my eyes would skip and I would forget what I had read. It was a bad concussion and I had a terrible memory."
Coach Brett Weiss is impressed with Welsheimer's dedication to the game and her teammates.
"Her work ethic is one of the highest I have ever seen," he said. "She is internally motivated and she always goes 100 mph. She wants the team to succeed and she pulls for her teammates. I have put her in multiple positions over the years and she does it right away and does a good job with it. She is the consummate team player."
After playing in the midfield last fall, Welsheimer has moved to an attacking forward position. She received tips and inspiration from 2017 graduate Karli Royer, a forward who now starts at defender for the University of Cincinnati.
"Karli always gives 100 percent and she was good at communicating," said Welsheimer, who had one goal this season before North played South. "She was always talking (on the field). She was a strong player and a strong leader. When I was playing varsity as a freshman, she was someone who really brought me up as a player and made me want to work harder to get better because she was so strong on the ball. I became as confident and strong as she is."
Weiss said Welsheimer's speed separates her from the pack.
"Speed is her biggest asset," he said. "She has speed to burn, which is something I wish I had. She has speed and tenacity on the field."
Welsheimer wants to continue playing in college while possibly majoring in occupational therapy.
"As a forward, I have to work on playing with my back to the goal," she said. "What has been working for us lately is hitting (the ball) over the defenders and me using my speed to run over to it, but that doesn't work all of the time. That's why I need to work more with my back to the goal."
Girls tennis team
The girls tennis team plays in a Division I sectional Thursday, Oct. 5, and Saturday, Oct. 7, at Hilliard Bradley.
The top four finishers in singles and doubles advance to district Oct. 12 at Bradley and Oct. 14 at Upper Arlington.
Gabrielle Cochran, Reilly Cochran and Kaley Cossette will play singles for the Warriors, who were 5-8 before playing Mount Vernon on Oct. 3. The doubles team will be Arianna Guerra and Aubrey McMahon and Maddie Jones and Tatiana Slesnick.
for golf teams
The boys golf team competed in a Division I sectional Oct. 3 at Clover Valley, with the top four teams and top four individuals not on qualifying teams advancing to district Tuesday, Oct. 10, at Apple Valley.
At district, the top two teams and top two individuals not on those teams advance to state Oct. 20 and 21 at Ohio State's Scarlet Course.
The girls team played in a Division I sectional Oct. 3 at Westchester, with the top three teams and top three individuals not on qualifying teams advancing to district Tuesday, Oct. 10, at Cooks Creek.
At district, the top two teams and top two individuals not on those teams advance to state Oct. 20 and 21 at Ohio State's Gray Course.
Below are the coming schedules for the North cross country, boys soccer, girls soccer and girls volleyball teams:
Oct. 7 -- Les Eisenhart Invitational at Thomas Worthington
Oct. 5 -- Home vs. Reynoldsburg
*Oct. 10 -- Home vs. Olentangy Orange
Oct. 7 -- At Granville
*Oct. 10 -- At Orange
*Oct. 5 -- Home vs. Westerville South. The Warriors lost to the Wildcats 25-23, 25-16, 16-25, 13-25, 15-8 on Sept. 14.
*Oct. 10 -- Home vs. Orange. The Warriors lost to the Pioneers 25-12, 25-16, 25-12 on Sept. 19.