October 18, 2018

Casey Cole: Small Town Athlete, Big Time Player


The population of Casey Cole’s hometown of Nuangola, Pa., is just shy of 700.

Ohio State’s undergraduate enrollment this year is 45,956.

When the time came to make a decision on the future of her field hockey career after starring at Crestwood High School, she knew she wanted to go big.

“I was looking at a lot of Big Ten schools,” Cole said. “I was tired of being in a small town. I wanted a completely different feel and Ohio State is such a big name.”


Years later, as she is about to head into what could be her final home game against Michigan State, Cole took a moment out to look back on her time in Columbus.

For those that have been to an OSU field hockey game this season, you can find Cole either dancing during warmups to the beats blasting from the speakers at Buckeye Varsity Field, in the huddle trying to motivate others, or with a smile on her face, laughing on the sidelines with 24 of her closest family members she calls teammates.

She was far from the leadership role she embodies today when she first stepped on campus in the summer of 2015.

“I remember being extremely nervous about playing,” Cole said. “I was in my shell.”

Cole credits teammates along the way for helping her break out of that shell.

While she has seen the back of the cage several times this season, one of those aforementioned teammates is responsible for keeping balls out of it in senior goalkeeper Ellen Westfall.

“I think it’s finally coming full circle for her and she’s getting the recognition she deserves,” Westfall said. “She was this good last year, she’s just finally able to execute on corners. She’s an amazing player.”

Ohio State Buckeyes

“I think it’s finally coming full circle for her and she’s getting the recognition she deserves.”

After some up and down seasons in the past three years, the No. 21 Buckeyes are on the cusp of bigger and better things. Heading into Friday’s contest against the Spartans, they are 10-6 and have won four games in a row.

Cole is one of the main driving forces behind the Scarlet and Gray, having the best season of her career with six goals and two assists.

Ohio State Buckeyes

The light being at the end of the tunnel representing her career has been a key factor to the on field success.

“It’s my last year here,” Cole said. “I might as well do as much as I can and leave it all out on the field.”

Ohio State Buckeyes


“When things aren’t going well, she’s helping to spark that energy.”

As a team, OSU has been through a rigorous schedule. Nine of their 16 games this season have been against top-25 ranked teams. They are 4-5 in those contests with a tenth ranked matchup on Sunday at No. 7 Michigan.

All five of those losses were by one goal each.

It goes without saying that if the Buckeyes are to reach new heights in the postseason, Cole is going to be a factor.

“When things aren’t going well, she’s helping to spark that energy,” second-year head coach Jarred Martin said. “If they are going well, she probably was a part of it somehow … She’s not scared of anybody and she doesn’t want to back down from anybody. We’ll play teams that are ranked pretty much every weekend and she is ready to compete and win. She makes that contagious.”

Regardless of the outcome, this university and the game of field hockey mean more to Cole than mere words can describe.

Ohio State Buckeyes

“I’m an only child so this is like my family,” Cole said. “Even if you get into a little fight, the next minute you’re making a joke. Field hockey has been my life for as long as I can remember. The past four years have been a really awesome experience. It’s going to be hard to say goodbye.”

The Buckeyes and Spartans get the green light at 3 p.m. on Friday with a Senior Day ceremony set to take place following the game.