Above: Katie Kerachsky, senior captain, with knees bent in the middle after scoring the 2-1 eventual game winning goal. Photo by Daedalus Media Group
The Rocky Hill Country Day School Mariners Girls Field Hockey team has been on a winning jag of late, capturing the D3 state championship in 2021 and, on Nov. 5, beating Lincoln High School 2-1 for the D2 state title. Not too shabby, considering that before 2021 RHCDS hadn’t won a state title since 1997.
“This year, we had just as much strength and a ton of skill,” said Coach Traci Fairchild, noting they only lost two players to graduation last year. “It was the most skilled field hockey team I’ve every coached. With a small team of 22 players, every single person played, with the seniors leading by example.”
Those seniors, she said, were “an extra, extra special group … who carried the team.” In midfield, were Francesca McCaughey and Katie Kerachsky, captains along with Alexis Cote in center back. Fairchild called McCaughey a “lights out player” for the team. Playing all four years on varsity, McCaughey was named last year’s Division 3 player of the year and this year’s D2 player of the year by the R.I. Field Hockey Coaches Association.
Kerachsky, meanwhile, scored the game-winning goal with eight minutes left to play. “She is a senior leader in every sense of the word. To see her have the best game of the year was so bittersweet,” said Fairchild.
“These three grew up at Rocky Hill. They brought this team together,” she said, practicing what they called “mandatory fun” – extra activities like pasta dinners and a team visit to the RWP Zoo Halloween Spectacular to keep the team close.
She also called out Anna McLaughlin, who had scored the “glory goal” at last year’s final and was another one of those players Fairchild would sprinkle around the field.
“It was a really special senior class,” Fairchild said.
Fairchild credited the school’s athletic director, Megan Williams, for having built a strong sense of pride in Mariner athletics in recent years. “I felt supported as a field hockey coach,” Fairchild said. (The name Fairchild may be familiar in East Greenwich. A member of the EGHS Class of 2001, Fairchild played field hockey under none other than Deb McMullen and Carey Withrow and went on to play FH at UMaine Orono.)
For senior Katie Kerachsky, who is from East Greenwich, the season and state championship were challenging but extremely rewarding.
“Because we got moved up to D2 this year, this season was a lot more competitive. From the beginning of the summer to the last day of our season we put emphasis on the importance of our team and acting like teammates on and off the field,” she said. “Throughout the season we spent so much time together that we understood how important this season was to everyone and used it as motivation to get us through challenging games.
“Last year when we won the D3 championship we went in as underdogs and had nothing to lose and ended up winning. This year was different, it felt like there was a lot of pressure on this game,” she said. “We tried to focus on playing the game just like any other game. The win this year meant a lot to all of us, especially us seniors, because of the work we have put in since the beginning making sure the program is respected not only within our school but in the competitive RIIL league. As a senior I could not have imagined a better way to end my last game.”