Saturday, May 08, 2021

Sports Person of the Week

Heiden’s Stout Defense Proves Huge for Old Saybrook


Senior Kate Heiden helped the Old Saybrook field hockey squad have a stellar season with her excellent play as a defender. Photo courtesy of Kate Heiden

Senior Kate Heiden helped the Old Saybrook field hockey squad have a stellar season with her excellent play as a defender. (Photo courtesy of Kate Heiden )

When Kate Heiden was in 6th grade, she was looking for a way to have fun while staying active. Kate turned to a group of her friends who suggested that she try field hockey, and she hasn’t looked back since.

Now a senior at Old Saybrook High School, Kate recently finished her final season as a member of the Rams’ field hockey team. A left defensive back, Kate helped Old Saybrook post an overall record of 7-3-1 on its way to making the Shoreline Conference championship game.

“My favorite moment from this season was being able to make it to the Shoreline championship game as a full team, despite all of the uncertainty about our season and the challenges that came with COVID,” Kate says. “My favorite aspect of field hockey is the team environment and the excitement that comes with competition. It’s rewarding to see how my effort and dedication of practicing translates in the game.”

Kate’s dedication to field hockey didn’t go unnoticed by Head Coach Nancy Gatta. Old Saybrook’s coach calls Kate one of the important players on her roster and was an integral part of the Rams’ defensive success in 2020.

“Kate, as a senior, was so important to the team this season,” says Gatta. “Kate was the lone returning defensive player after losing our defense to graduation. She really stepped up this season and was such a great role model and mentor to the younger members of the team.”

In addition to playing for Old Saybrook, Kate worked hard throughout the offseason in order to improve her field hockey skills. Kate competed in an indoor league with some of her teammates during the winter and also participated in a few clinics.

“To improve my game, out of season I play in an indoor league with my teammates. I also participate in clinics and camps at nearby colleges,” says Kate. “In my free time, I enjoy working out and spending time with my friends and family. I enjoy skiing and, in the summers, I enjoy sailing and boating around the shoreline.”

Kate was rewarded for her performance as a senior when she was presented with All-Shoreline Conference Honorable Mention for Old Saybrook. She also received the Rams’ Spirit Award. Coach Gatta says that Kate’s staunch play on defense proved crucial for an Old Saybrook team that featured some new faces on that end of the field.

“With a new goalkeeper in the cage this season and Shelby Dorothy, a sophomore, in her first varsity season as sweeper, Kate was key this season in holding up the backfield for us. She was solid defensively every game and worked hard all season to improve,” Gatta says. “I have really enjoyed watching Kate grow into a thoughtful, caring young lady these last three years. I am thrilled to have been her coach and to be able to give her the tools to improve her skills on the hockey field. I look forward to seeing what the future holds for Kate.”

Kate and Coach Gatta share many common qualities, specifically their competitive spirit. Kate loved played for Gatta and feels that her field hockey game came a long way as a result.

“I have enjoyed playing for Coach Gatta from the moment she took over as head coach,” Kate says. “She is always there to listen to anything you have to say and give feedback. One of the many things I like about her is her competitiveness.”

Off the pitch, Kate also plays for the Old Saybrook softball team and is a member of the National Honor Society at the high school. While Kate is unsure of where she is going to college, she is certain of what field she is going to study.

“I will be pursuing a career in nursing and hope to play field hockey at the collegiate level,” says Kate.

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