WESTFIELD TWP. — Most players entering their junior seasons spent their summer hanging out with friends and dreading the first day of school.
Not Heather Buckwald. She was mapping out her future.
The incoming Cloverleaf 11th-grader selected Ohio University out of a host of other Division I institutions to continue her soccer career in 2012.
While most of her friends are just starting the process and shuffling through all the letters, Buckwald can now spend her next two seasons focusing on keeping the Colts atop the Suburban League.
“It was very stressful having to decide when I am only a junior in high school,” the 16-year-old said.
“I am confident in my decision and I am very excited. The decision of choosing Ohio University took off a lot of pressure, so now I can enjoy my last two years of high school without worry.”
The 5-foot-7 forward is coming off a sophomore campaign in which she netted 16 goals and dished out 10 assists. Her 42 points were good for fourth on the county scoring list and helped the Colts to the school’s first undefeated regular season and second straight SL championship.
Efforts like that, and her play for Ohio Premier in the off season, helped the Bobcats take notice.
“I have played on Ohio Premier for several years and that is where they came to watch me play at one of our tournaments,” Buckwald said. “They contacted me through (Ohio Premier coach Chris Marsh) and he served as the middle man.”
Last fall, Ohio University went 9-8-2 overall and was 6-3-2 in the Mid-American Conference with Medina native Lauren Burke playing on the back line. The Bobcats lost just three players and should improve on their fourth place finish in the league.
“Ohio University has a beautiful campus and I really liked the soccer girls and coaches,” Buckwald said. “I liked their attitude toward the game and the importance of bonding as a team. I am looking forward to the challenge of playing Division I soccer.”
Fellow MAC institutions Toledo and Miami were among some of the schools Buckwald was considering, but the 4.0 student liked OU’s pre-med program.
“Other out-of-state schools were interested, but I wanted to stay in Ohio,” she said. “I am considering pre-med in college because I have always wanted to be a doctor. Ohio University has a very good pre-med program, which made me want to attend the university even more.”
Contact Dan Brown at firstname.lastname@example.org.