Matheny to skate for Ohio State
By: Warren Mayes
When it came to playing hockey, Katie Matheny had little say in the matter.
“My older brother, Tate, got me started in hockey as a goalie when I was very young,” Matheny said. “He never really gave me much of a choice to play or not. He just told me to play goalie so he could practice shooting. But I’m very glad he did now.”
Indeed. The Westminster Christian Academy senior signed a letter of intent to play Division I hockey for Ohio State.
That move has caused some discussions in the Matheny household. Her father, Mike, manager of the St. Louis Cardinals, played in college at Michigan, where he was the co-captain of the Wolverines. Mom, Kristen, was a field hockey player at the University of Michigan.
Ohio State and Michigan are archrivals.
“With both my parents being Michigan alumni, Ohio State would not have been their top choice for me,” Matheny quipped. “But they support me no matter what. My dad just said that he refuses to wear any type of Ohio State clothing.”
Playing college hockey was important to Matheny.
“Since I was very young, I always wanted to play ice hockey at a major university with a championship level women’s ice hockey team,” Matheny said. “Ohio State had always been one of my top choices.
“I had offers from many other schools but Ohio State was where I wanted to go. So when they offered me a full scholarship at the beginning of my junior year, I made my verbal commitment.”
She stuck by it and will be a Buckeye. Matheny said she has not decided on a major yet. She is planning on just going into general studies for her freshman year.
Ohio State Coach Nate Handrahan is glad to have her on board and coming to his program. He said it was hard to not recruit her.
“Katie is player who has a knack for scoring goals. She has done that throughout her career,” Handrahan said. “She also comes from a great family that has a very athletic background. The other important piece is how much Katie wanted to be a Buckeye. I believe it is an important part to a player’s development when they exhibit a strong desire to do something.
“Katie is a scorer, someone who knows how to play in the offensive zone. She also has great hand-eye coordination, which helps her passing and receiving skills. She has great athletic abilities and will develop here.”
Matheny’s upside will be as high as the effort she puts into it, Handrahan said.
“As we do with all of our players, we will put Katie in positions and situations that will allow her to succeed and maximize her strengths,” Handrahan said. “It is a tough transition for all players. Oftentimes there is an early adjustment period followed by a time where each player settles in so to speak. Over her four years, I expect her to be productive.
“She has all the God-given tools to be great and when you couple that with all of the resources we have at Ohio State, she has a great opportunity in front of her. It will be up to Katie to bring a work ethic, desire to learn and reception to coaching for her to reach her potential. We always set the standard with our players to be great.”
Patrick Quinn who coaches Matheny for the Lady Blues, said he also expects her to do well at Ohio State.
“Katie’s single biggest adjustment in moving to the college level is the same as it will be for many of our players that go on to play D-I, D-III or ACHA and that is the transition to becoming a college student and being accountable for yourself every single day,” Quinn said. “Parents are no longer there to command completion of tasks or guide someone through every day. The student-athlete will need to learn how to take the time management and scholastic disciplines that they have learned and relied upon in high school and crank them up exponentially.”
That said, she is still a teenager, Quinn said.
“She is fun-loving and gregarious and a texting machine,” Quinn said.
Soon, her high school days will be over. Matheny said that’s OK by her.
“It’s hard to believe that I am already halfway done with my senior year of high school,” Matheny said. “It went by so fast but I am ready to start the next chapter of my life. I am so thankful to have been blessed with such amazing teammates, coaches, friends and a family throughout my life who have always encouraged me and pushed me to be the best I can and have gotten me to where I am today.”