by Alex McDonald
Freshman Lydia Beatty had no idea what would come out of her first high school field hockey season. After tryouts, she started the year off on junior varsity. However, half way through the season, Beatty was pulled up to varsity, making her the youngest on the team. Captain Elizabeth Cautela was not surprised with this quick decision, considering Beatty’s performance on JV.
“Going into the season we didn’t expect her to play as well as she has,” Cautela says. “Lydia was dominating JV. Lydia definitely brings a lot to the table. She has speed that really gets the game going,” Cautela says.
Beatty had no experience with the sport before her eighth grade year. “In fact, I didn’t even know it existed. I hadn’t done any training camps or clinics at all.”
Three weeks into her first season, she woke up, and she knew something was wrong. “I had strained my left wrist and was unable to play the rest of the season. I’m not really sure how I sprained it, but I woke up one morning, and it just hurt.”
However, even though her first season was a little bit rocky, she signed up again as a freshman, and her interest and fondness for the sport quickly grew.
When she first tried out her freshman year, she was put on the JV team along with all the other freshman who had tried out, despite the fact that there had been a lot of freshman on the varsity team the year before. However, injuries crippled the varsity team, and Varsity Coach Jennifer Wallingford took a sudden interest in Beatty.
“Lydia is fast,” Wallingford says. “She’s in shape, and when you are a varsity athlete you should be able to go full speed for a long period of time. It just so happened that the positions I needed to fill in an Oakmont game, one of them was in the forward line, and speed is important all over the place, but when you’re in the forward line, being offensive it is really important, so I needed somebody who was fast.”
She asked Lydia to play, and Lydia agreed without hesitation.
However, this did not guarantee a spot for Beatty on the varsity team, at least not yet. Beatty was playing on varsity, only when Wallingford needed her. But Wallingford quickly realized that she needed her on the team permanently.
“I chose Lydia [out of the other JV players] because of her speed and overall fitness. She’s definitely one of the fastest athletes in the field hockey program,” Wallingford said. “She goes after each ball, she pays attention to her coach’s’ advice, and she works to play the game cleanly and correctly. And when she scored in our North Middlesex game, it cemented her place on the roster for me.”
When she started, she was not sure what to expect. “I was both really excited and very nervous, because, like, that meant that I was the youngest on the team, and I didn’t really know anybody at that point. And then, obviously, I was excited because that was really big for me. But I was also worried that I wouldn’t get good enough to stay on varsity.” These nerves didn’t stop her from dominating the game with her speed.
Beatty has scored one goal on varsity this season, and she is tied with two juniors on the team who have also scored once. Junior Maggie Appel has the highest goal scoring record of six goals this season.
With Beatty’s first varsity season coming to an end, her coach has high hopes for her future as an athlete. “Lydia’s willingness to grow and improve, as well as her hustle and good attitude, make her a true varsity athlete.”