Field hockey team welcomes new coach

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Photo by Mandy Schoen

Coach Casey Fletcher converses with the team before practice.

This unprecedented year has been full of transitions in almost every aspect of life. When it came time for fall sports, students had to explore uncharted territory as they attempted to manage new protocols and schedules. For the varsity field hockey team, they experienced change not only on the field, but also in leadership.

Former varsity coach Welma Luus transferred in October 2020. The team had little time to find a replacement when a surprise fall season was announced to begin on Feb. 27, so Coach Casey Fletcher stepped up. “The transition was certainly quick, but after Coach Fletcher accepted the position, we were able to immediately get in contact and start our planning process. Overall, the transition went smoothly given the time restrictions,” junior varsity coach Madison Averill said.

Fletcher played both field hockey and lacrosse in high school and was awarded the All-American honor as a senior. She then went on to be recruited by Elizabethtown College and continued playing both sports for all four years. “The team bond and love for the sport made college a unique experience. I wanted to pass along my love for field hockey to the next generation,” Fletcher said.

After college, Fletcher began her coaching career, working with a variety of schools and club teams. Although this is her first season working the field hockey department, Fletcher is not new to the school’s community. She has coached the girls’ varsity lacrosse team since 2016. “Coaching the two sports is completely different. My players are sometimes surprised that I am such a different coach on the different fields,” Fletcher said.

Right off the bat, Fletcher and Averill had unusual hurdles to jump. Together, the two navigated their first pandemic season by putting the mental health of the players first. “Covid has been difficult for all of us. It has made me become aware of the stresses these kids are under in normal times. I think I have become more compassionate to my players and really want to provide an outlet for them to grow and enjoy playing,” Fletcher said.

Fletcher had to use her creativity when planning drills for the season because of restrictions put into place to protect the safety of the students. Although tryouts and practices looked a little different this year, the athletes still managed to get on the field and grow as players. “Coach Fletcher pushes us in our drills and I can definitely see myself improving after working with her,” junior Allison Gritz said.

Working with Coach Fletcher so far has been a great experience.”

— Madison Averill

Despite her late entrance, Fletcher transitioned seamlessly into the environment. “Working with Coach Fletcher so far has been a great experience. She is familiar with the culture of Wootton sports and brings a lot of great insights and ideas from her prior coaching experience,” Averill said.

Fletcher is overjoyed to expand her outreach on the school’s community. “My goals for the season are pretty simple. Keep these players on the field and playing the awesome game of field hockey, while staying safe and healthy,” Fletcher said.