Senior Sports Writer
Many Wooster students are varsity athletes, competing at the DIII level in the North Coast Athletic Conference. Given how competitive this conference is, one can imagine how difficult it is to not only be one of those varsity athletes, but also to continue to play the same sport all four years of college.
Katie Shideler ’21, the field hockey and women’s lacrosse starting goalie and captain, has always enjoyed playing sports and being around her teammates. During the 2018 Field Hockey season — her sophomore year — she started in 20 of 21 games, was a member of the All-Region Second Team, All-NCAC First Team and the NCAC All-Tournament Team. Not only that, but she and her team had a record of 14-6, she possessed a .844 save percentage, had 146 saves total and a 1.35 goal against average. She was looking forward to an exciting and fun senior fall season this year, but COVID-19 has impacted college athletics tremendously. Last spring semester, limited Wooster athletics were able to take place up until March, when students were sent home for a two-week spring break and never ended up returning. Now, fall sports are only able to practice — no competitions against other schools are permitted.
Before coming to campus in August, Shideler’s summer internship plans were put on hold due to COVID-19. Instead, she worked on the assembly line at an old Hasbro board game factory. She described it as “mind-numbing, but a unique experience for sure,” and is grateful she had the opportunity.
Right now, Shideler, a mathematics and physics double major, is currently working on her senior Independent Study. “As a math and physics double major, I have decided to do a self-designed physics project of harnessing wasted thermal energy on various places throughout campus and converting it to electrical energy by use of thermoelectric generators,” she said. “I am interested in this topic because electronics is a very interesting subject to me and how electronic materials work intrigues me, but also, energy conservation is a field that can constantly be improved. Hopefully something useful will come out of the research that I do.”
For many athletes, including Shideler, being back together with teammates and coaches on campus has been a long time coming. “Being back on campus is definitely not what it used to be, and sports and classes are so different this year. But what is making it all better is living with fellow seniors on sports teams that are going through the same thing I am and being able to cope and complain with them but also find ways to make the most of the situation,” she commented. “Without as many sports in our lives, we have more time to do things with each other like watch sports that are actually happening or play card games and fun things we wouldn’t normally have time for.”
Although there are no competitions for sports this fall, Shideler has been able to do something she has never done before. “I am excited to get to play with both field hockey and lacrosse in the fall which I have never been able to do before. Due to COVID-19 and the fall sports rule changes, I have the opportunity to play with each team throughout each week which is refreshing and is enjoyable to get out there with all of my friends,” she said.
Shideler was also asked about her favorite spot on campus. For her, it is one of the red and yellow picnic tables between Mom’s and the Scot Center. “It’s perfect to do homework on and it’s close to places for snacks and the Scot Center for when I need to go to practice. Also, it’s a very social place where many people walk by to say hi to others.” In her free time Shideler’s favorite thing to do is grill out on the charcoal grills with her friends and play lawn games, such as Kuub and SpikeBall.
Lastly, a fun fact about Shideler: “If I didn’t go to school for physics and math, I think my dream would be to become a chef at a diner.”