For the past year Kentucky Country Dayâ€™s Andrea Wambaugh has tried hard to put the memories of last seasonâ€™s lacrosse state championship game behind her. The recollections, however, have defied repression.
Last May, after advancing to the final for the sixth straight year, the top-seeded Bearcats were upset 13-11 in overtime by a Sacred Heart team they had twice beaten during the regular season.
â€œYou donâ€™t really try to give up, but you know in your heart that itâ€™s done,â€ said Wambaugh, recalling the final minutes of her junior season. â€œI donâ€™t want to be in that position again.â€
Now the midfielder with 56 career goals is looking to bring a proper end to her remarkable high school career and supplant the disappointment of 2011 with a title in 2012.
KCD (10-3) finished atop the Kentucky Lacrosse Associationâ€™s (KLA) nine-team first division with an 8-0 record against in-state competition. The Bearcats, state champs in 2008 and 2010, outscored opponents 117 to 44 and are the No. 1 seed entering postseason play this week.
Wambaugh, a three-year starter, has been a valuable asset maintaining possession in the midfield and getting forward in the attack. She ranks first in the league in assists, with 15, and third in goals, with 25. Including out-of-state games, Wambaugh has a career-best 22 assists and 37 goals.
â€œ(Sheâ€™s) tough to defend because she can throw, catch and finish with either hand,â€ said KCD coach Pat McAnulty, who is in his eighth year.
According to McAnulty, Wambaughâ€™s enthusiasm for the sport and capacity for hard work are key components of her success. â€œYou donâ€™t have to motivate her,â€ he said. â€œSheâ€™s a self-starter and sheâ€™s somebody who is on the line first with a stick in her hand like, â€˜What are we doing? Letâ€™s go.â€™â€
Wambaugh, or â€œWam-Bamâ€ as her teammates call her, took up lacrosse in sixth grade, and her growth from tyro to two-time varsity captain was largely a product of sweat.
â€œFive years ago, I wouldâ€™ve never said she is going to be one of the top five players in the state and I know she is (now),â€ said McAnulty, who also coaches Wambaughâ€™s club team, Bluegrass Premier.
â€œThe one thing that endears me to her the most is that sheâ€™s not as naturally gifted as some of the other kids Iâ€™ve coached over the years, but thereâ€™s no one I would trade for in terms of her perseverance and work ethic. She is a self-made player and a total testament to what hard work can do.â€
Wambaugh admitted she was not the most athletic kid playing sports, but she worked hard and pushed herself to become a better athlete.
In addition to lacrosse, Wambaugh played four years of soccer at KCD and saw action on the basketball team last winter as well.
The student with a 3.7 GPA has committed to play lacrosse at D-III Carthage College in Kenosha, Wis., and hopes to attend medical school.
When sheâ€™s not on the road with her club team this summer, Wambaugh will be clocking in and out at 32 Degrees, a yogurt bar at The Summit where she has worked for nearly three years. â€œItâ€™s like a second family for me. I love everyone there,â€ she said.
Before summer rolls around, though, Wambaugh and the Bearcats have other work to complete. Their shot at redemption begins this Thursday, May 10, when opening round play in the KLA state tournament gets underway.Â Semifinals are slated for Monday, May 14 at Sacred Heart, and the championship game will be played at North Oldham on Thursday, May 17 at 7 p.m.
â€œThere hasnâ€™t been a day thatâ€™s passed when I havenâ€™t thought about what we couldâ€™ve done differently and how weâ€™re going to get back on top,â€ said McAnulty. â€œThe kids do not want to feel that pain again.â€
- Assumption sophomore Katherine Receveur and Holy Cross junior Jacob Thomson took first in the boysâ€™ and girlsâ€™ divisions, respectively, at the third annual Kentucky Dream Mile hosted by St. Xavier on May 4.Receveur crossed the line in 4:59.09 and was one of three Rockets among the top four finishers. Sophomore Bailey Davis was second (5:00.47) and senior Caroline McCaslin (5:02.73) finished fourth. Manual junior Cassidy Hale finished third at 5:01.43.With 100 yards remaining, Thomson pulled away from his friend and training partner, sophomore Patrick Gregory of Butler, and set a new event record of 4:13.43. Gregory (4:14.73) was second, followed by teammate Tretez Kinnaird, who finished third at 4:15.91.
- Four Mercy Academy seniors recently signed with colleges: Colleen Sholtes (golf, Belmont Abbey College), Lucy Meredith (lacrosse, Transylvania), Katie Jackel (field hockey, Transylvania) and Andrea Mattingly (field hockey, Wittenburg University).
- Easternâ€™s Austin Zachary has signed to run track and cross-country at Bellarmine.
Contact columnist Chris Cahill at email@example.com.
Photos by CHRIS CAHILL | Contributing Photographer