BY ANTONIA CAMPBELL, ’22.
It was around 5 p.m. on June 1, 2019 when the final buzzer went off, and the UAHS 2019 Varsity Girls Lacrosse Team members ran to their teammates, hugging while holding their lacrosse sticks. This was the UAHS Girls Lacrosse team’s tenth state championship overall, fifth consecutively and senior Camryn Callaghan’s first. Being a freshman at the time, Callaghan is one of only a few current seniors on the team to have experienced a state championship firsthand with the 2020 season being canceled due to COVID-19 and the team losing to Dublin Coffman in the regional finals last season.
Now in the 2022 season, Callaghan, one of four varsity captains, has led her team on a winning streak, and on April 11, the girls beat Dublin Coffman 21-4. She has earned a plethora of awards for her lacrosse skills including All-American Honors, 1st Team All State and OCC Central Division Player of the Year in 2021 alone.
Callaghan began lacrosse as a young child. Her mother, who played in high school, deeply encouraged her to play.
“I started playing when I was 9 years old…Originally, I hated it. I didn’t want to play, but [my mom] made me go out in the backyard and throw the ball with her…until I could catch it, and I couldn’t go inside until I could catch the ball,” Callaghan said. “But I ended up really loving it and stuck with it.”
Callaghan continued to play throughout middle school and realized that lacrosse was the sport she wanted to pursue when she reached high school.
“I realized freshman year after I made varsity and I was really set in stone with playing in college,” Callaghan said. “I was pretty excited that I made varsity, and I saw a lot of interest from coaches and colleges.”
In September of 2020, Callaghan committed to play Division 1 lacrosse at the University of Cincinnati after numerous discussions with the coaches and visiting the school twice.
“I decided in September of my junior year. I had a couple Zoom calls with the coaches and my brother also goes there, so when I went to visit him. I knew it was the perfect school for me,” Callaghan said.
Callaghan notes that there were many challenges that came along with committing to Cincinnati, the first being the decision to play lacrosse over soccer, a sport she also found success in.
“I had so many thoughts about it, and I had no idea what I wanted to do. I had to go see so many people and get their opinions on it, and it seemed like everyone said to play lacrosse,” Callaghan said.
Then, there was the decision of which school she should attend.
“It was between Ohio State and Cincinnati. Originally, I was set on OSU, and I wanted to go there so bad because it’s close, it’s a bigger school and everyone knows it. But when I saw Cincinnati, I realized I needed to focus less on the image and focus more on what fits me best,” Callaghan said.
Callaghan officially signed to play in November and began her final season at UA in March. She discussed how the season has been going thus far.
“The season has been good. We have a new coach, so it’s definitely been a challenge to adapt to a different coaching style, but we have so much talent on the team,” Callaghan said.
Callaghan is looking forward to what the season will bring and has high hopes to bring home another state title.
“I’m excited to see how well our team does this season. Last year, we lost to Coffman pretty early on in the tournament, so we have a big goal to win states this year,” Callaghan said.
Overall, Callaghan said that lacrosse has provided so much to her life and considers it an outlet for escaping stress.
“I love the people and the relationships it brings me. It gives me a different environment to go see people and get away from all my problems.” Callaghan said. “I love the sport so much, and it’s given me so much.”