Watterson Roundup: Caroline Dunham finds fit with field hockey team

Jarrod Ulrey
ThisWeek group
Watterson senior Caroline Dunham directs her teammates during a game Oct. 5 at Thomas Worthington. She has started at goalie the last two seasons even though she didn't begin playing the position until she was a sophomore.

A philosophy that Watterson field hockey coach Janet Baird tries to foster involves the importance of each player filling her individual role for the good of the team.

Senior goalie Caroline Dunham is one player who has exemplified that approach.

Growing up playing soccer and field hockey, Dunham was a field player in both before choosing to focus solely on soccer when she got to high school.

She was cut from the Eagles’ girls soccer team as a sophomore, however, and shortly afterward got a call from friend and field hockey player Lauren Neutzling.

“We’ve been friends since middle school and she texted me to let me know the (junior varsity) team needed a goalie,” Dunham said. “There was a lot of learning to it since field hockey goalies kick the ball. My soccer background helps, but I had to not kick it like I did in soccer and had to learn all the angles and how to talk to the defense.”

Dunham started for the varsity last season as the Eagles went 13-5 and had their fifth consecutive district runner-up finish.

This fall, Watterson again has been among the area’s best teams.

The Eagles were 12-3 overall and 7-0 in the COFHL-East Division after losing to Thomas Worthington 3-1 on Oct. 5 and defeating Bexley 2-0 on Oct. 7. Watterson, which closes the league schedule Thursday, Oct. 15, at Granville, beat two-time defending state champion and defending league champion Columbus Academy 3-1 on Sept. 9.

Two of the Eagles’ losses have come to Thomas, with the other being a 1-0 setback Sept. 11, and they also lost to Hudson 4-1 on Oct. 3.

“(Dunham) was cut from soccer and we didn’t have a goalie (in 2018) and the girls called her and asked her to come and play,” Baird said. “She’s been terrific.”

In addition to Dunham, Watterson returned seniors Audrey Schroeder and Neutzling at defender, with juniors midfielders Fiona Isbell and Claire Sugar also playing key roles on defense.

“We’ve gotten to grow a lot as a team, especially since we didn’t lose many seniors last year,” Dunham said. “It’s the exact same defense as last year and we’ve gotten to work together a lot.”

Dunham, who hasn’t decided whether she’ll play collegiately, has enjoyed becoming a part of the field hockey program.

“I played more soccer growing up, but once I got to middle school, I played field hockey, too,” Dunham said. “I definitely have (improved), especially going into my junior year. I went and saw a ton of coaches. This year I think I’ve improved even more. I didn’t get to work as much with coaches as I would have liked in the offseason because of (the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic), but since it’s my senior year, I really want to make it to state so I’ve tried get to another level.”

Runners prep for

CCL, postseason meets

The boys and girls cross country teams are preparing for the CCL meet Saturday, Oct. 17, at DeSales.

Then on Oct. 24 at Hilliard Darby, the girls will compete in a Division I district meet while the boys will run in a Division II district meet.

On Oct. 3 in the Pickerington North Invitational, the boys earned a third-place finish (82 points) behind Fisher Catholic (69) and Jonathan Alder (79) in the 11-team Group 3 race and the girls were runners-up (83) behind Jonathan Alder (40) in the 10-team Group 3 race.

Senior Will Garey finished first of 133 runners in 16 minutes, 37.3 seconds to lead the boys. Junior Max Latshaw placed third (17:03.6), followed by juniors Cris Kubatko (10th, 17:45.7), David Druhan (29th, 18:37.8) and Jake Vanausdle (41st, 19:09.7), sophomore Finn Kephart (42nd, 19:11.8) and senior Joe Haemmerle (56th, 19:46.2).

The girls were led by junior Leah Hetteberg, who finished 12th (21:08.3). Senior Brooklyn Brush was 15th (21:44.4), followed by sophomore Eden Brush (16th, 21:44.9), junior Chloe Demboski (22nd, 22:05.8), senior Averie Cunningham (25th, 22:30.0), junior Marie Grassi (32nd, 23:15.8) and senior Emily Vais (34th, 23:18.2).

The Eagles' Noah Stauffer shot an 89 in a Division I sectional tournament Oct. 6 at Darby Creek.

Trafford qualifies

for district in golf

Junior Carson Trafford represented the boys golf team in the Division I district tournament Oct. 13 at Apple Valley.

On Oct. 6 in a sectional at Darby Creek, Trafford shot 73 to tie St. Charles’ Leo Walling and Thomas' Noah Jackman for third behind St. Charles’ Luke Gutman (71) and Thomas’ Paari Kaviyarasu (72). The players from Thomas, Trafford and Dublin Scioto’s Jack Gawronski (77) advanced to district individually.

At district, the top two individuals not on qualifying teams advanced to the state tournament Oct. 23 and 24 at Ohio State’s Scarlet Course.

Watterson placed seventh (334) of 14 teams at sectional behind champion St. Charles (297) as the top four teams moved on.

Sophomore Deacon Pinson shot 83 to tie for 28th. Sophomore Noah Stauffer and freshmen Jonah Altiero and Cooper Struckel each shot 89 to tie for 42nd.

The girls finished fifth (382) in the 12-team sectional at Mentel Memorial as Dublin Coffman (331), Olentangy Liberty (336) and Hilliard Bradley (348) advanced to district.

Junior Anna Stauffer shot 91 to tie for 15th as she missed advancing to district by seven strokes.

Also competing for the Eagles were junior Sophia Roncone (19th, 93), senior Fifi Criswell-Cartet (tied for 25th, 96), junior Katherine McGrath (tied for 36th, 102) and sophomore Sydney McKinney (55th, 115).

The CCL girls postseason tournament was held Oct. 10 at NorthStar.

julrey@thisweeknews.com

@UlreyThisWeek