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GIRLS ATHLETE OF THE YEAR: No slowing down Bohmke

When the tennis season was over at Stafford High School in May, Natalie Bohmke felt a sense of accomplishment and relief.

The recent Stafford graduate began her final year of high school athletics helping lead the Indians’ field hockey team to the Group 6A state semifinals.

She ran the 300 meters and the 500 for the indoor track and field team during the winter. And in the spring, Bohmke was undefeated in the regular season as Stafford’s No. 2 tennis player, propelling the Indians to the Conference 4 championship and a 6A– South regional tournament appearance.

For her efforts last school year, Bohmke has been named Free Lance–Star girls athlete of the year.

“It’s really great to look back and know that I did so much and I’m able to have all the memories from it,” Bohmke said. “But once tennis ended it was definitely nice to relax. Being able to go home after school was pretty nice.”

Bohmke’s coaches said she deserved the rest.

Bohmke will play field hockey for Virginia Commonwealth University next season. She was the conference field hockey player of the year and an All-Area selection after recording six goals and 22 assists.

The Indians won the conference tournament title in addition to advancing to states. They saw their season end with a loss to Westfield in the state semifinals.

“I could put her anywhere on the field and she would be successful,” Stafford field hockey coach Dani Warters said. “When she came into the program we needed a left-back and she was a left-back. Not only that, she was a very humble player. She would make others look good.”

After field hockey was over, Bohmke joined the Indians’ winter track team to stay in shape. The experience served its purpose as Bohmke was prepared for a standout tennis season.

She was the Indians’ No. 1 player her sophomore and junior seasons, but she recognized the talents of then-freshman Josie Gresko, so she willingly played the No. 2 spot. In addition to her singles record, she and Gresko lost just one match as a doubles tandem.

Stafford’s team qualified for regionals the first time in Bohmke’s career, and Indians coach Kate Breen said she was a key reason why.

“There was never a ball out there that Natalie couldn’t run down or at least try to run down and most of the time she ran them down,” Breen said. “She would wear her opponents out. The point or the match wasn’t over until Natalie said it was over.”

Breen said Bohmke’s endurance developed from her background as a field hockey player and runner helped her on the tennis court. She and Warters said Bohmke has natural ability, but more importantly she’s also a hard worker.

That combination led to a memorable senior year, even if it was a bit taxing.

“I was a little bit sore [at the end of the tennis season]. That kind of never goes away,” Bohmke said. “But if I could do it all over again I absolutely would. I wouldn’t change a thing.”

 

Taft Coghill Jr.: 540/374-5526

tcoghill@freelancestar.com

 

 

The final Free Lance–Star girls athlete of the year voting by The FLS sports staff (first-place votes in parentheses):

1. Natalie Bohmke, Stafford (4) 32

2. Rachel Payne, Brooke Point (2) 22

3. Lauren Graves, Mountain View (1) 18

4. Meshala Morton, Mountain View 17

5. Olivia Hubert, Mountain View 9

Also receiving votes: Marybeth McBroom, Courtland 8; Megan Norair, Fredericksburg Academy 8; Colleen Beaver, Massaponax 5 (1 first place); Cara Lambert, James Monroe 1.

 

COMING TOMORROW The Free–Lance Star sports staff unveils its choice for Boys athlete of the year.

 

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