OCEAN — A quick trip over to the MaxPreps girls lacrosse stat leader page reveals the type of season Kate Wilson is putting together.
The Croatan sophomore ranks sixth in the state with 30 goals. She is the lone underclassman in North Carolina’s top 10.
“Shooting is the strongest part of game,” she said. “It’s easy to get open with Kelsey (McCormick) and Lauren (Hayden) on the field. They are not afraid to pass the ball, so it’s not hard to put up a lot of goals.”
McCormick ranks third in the state with 18 assists. She joins Wake Forest’s Emily Phillips as the only underclassmen in the top 10. Hayden has seven assists.
Wilson also shines picking up ground balls, ranking sixth in the state with 40. Apex Friendship’s Carly Bagnasco is the only other underclassmen in the top 10.
Wilson figured Croatan would be pretty good this season … she just didn’t think it would be this good.
Of the teams that had played at least five games entering Monday contests, only nine in the state had a better record than the Cougars’ 5-1 mark.
“We are doing a whole lot better than I thought we would at this point,” Wilson said. “I thought we might come in and impress some people, but I didn’t think we were going to beat some teams by as much as we have.”
Only one of the five wins came by less than eight goals. Croatan defeated New Bern 8-4 in that matchup. In the others, it beat Jacksonville 13-5, White Oak 18-6, D.H. Conley 17-3 and J.H. Rose 15-7.
“I knew it would be kind of close against New Bern, because their core is half of my summer team,” Wilson said. “I think the J.H. Rose game really surprised me. I thought it was going to be close, but it wasn’t. It made me think we are actually really good.”
The Cougars’ only loss came to undefeated First Flight (4-0) in a 17-6 outcome.
“I knew it was going to be a fight against First Flight, because they have girls returning who are very good and have been playing together forever,” Wilson said.
Croatan’s core has been playing on the same team since the seventh grade with Bogue Lacrosse providing the team with cohesion during its successful start.
Wilson has scored at least six goals in three games, going for seven against White Oak, eight versus D.H. Conley and six against J.H. Rose.
She started the sport in the fourth grade after her brother, former Croatan student-athlete Jason Seelye, began playing.
“My brother started playing when I was in third grade, and so I wanted to play the same sport as him,” she said. “They started up a team a year later, and I joined and just fell in love with it.”
Seelye was a part of Croatan’s first boys team in 2015, and Wilson followed in his footsteps again last year as a part of the school’s first girls team.
The Cougars won the program’s first game in the season opener, 17-13 against White Oak, with Wilson scoring a game-high eight goals and picking up a game-high 12 ground balls.
“It was cool to finally start a program and to beat White Oak in our first game was just crazy,” she said. “I thought I was ready. I had practiced with high shoolers when I was in seventh and eighth grades on summer teams, so when I came out and scored against White Oak, I thought I might be good at this.”
Developing a passion for the sport over the years, Wilson reported she was going to play high school lacrosse one way or another.
“I told one of my friends that even if there isn’t a girls team, I will put on pads and play on the boys team,” she said. “I just wanted to play lacrosse in high school.”
Croatan followed the win over White Oak with back-to-back 11-10 losses to Havelock and Jacksonville before the pandemic closed down the season.
“I was told we were going to have two weeks off and come back and start the season again, but those two weeks turned into not coming back at all,” Wilson said. “We only had one senior, and I hate it for her, but we had mostly freshmen and juniors, so we knew we could come back and be pretty good.”
After a long offseason and playing on the junior varsity basketball team while playing lacrosse, the sophomore felt more prepared for this season.
“It’s been crazy, but my endurance is so good right now because I’ve been doing both,” she said. “I feel like I’m in the best shape of my life.”
A standout student with a 3.7 GPA, she has her sights set on playing at the next level. Wilson lists Virginia Tech and Wingate as her top choices. She plans on majoring in business and is interested in sports management.
Here are a few of Wilson’s favorite things, as well as her ideal groups with which to eat dinner and survive a zombie apocalypse, and the five items she would take with her on a deserted island:
Favorite Movie: “Iron Man.”
Favorite TV Show: “WandaVision.”
Favorite Cartoon: “SpongeBob SquarePants.”
Favorite Band/Artist: Khalid.
Favorite Song: “American Teen” by Khalid.
Favorite Book: A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khalid Hosseini.
Favorite Team: Virginia Tech Hokies.
Favorite Athlete: Patrick Mahomes.
Favorite Vacation: Key Largo, Fla. with Kelsey McCormick.
Favorite Hobby: Hanging out with my friends.
Favorite Subject: Math.
Favorite Quote: “Are you hurt, or are you injured?”
Favorite Food: Mac and cheese.
Favorite Drink: Sprite.
Favorite Restaurant: Chick-fil-A.
Favorite Season: Summer.
Favorite Sports Memory: “Winning a Braveheart at one of my summer lacrosse tournaments.”
Favorite Teacher: Ms. Kalen Perry.
Favorite Sport: Lacrosse.
Favorite Pre-Game/Post-Game Ritual: Getting to warm up before games with my teammates Kelsey McCormick and Lauren Hayden.
Favorite Website/App: Snapchat.
Favorite Follow on Twitter/Instagram: House of Highlights.
Ideal Dinner Guest List: My grandma, aunt, sister, mom and dad.
Ideal Group to Survive a Zombie Apocalypse: Kelsey McCormick, Will Rouse, Sidney Inscoe, Alex Barnes, Lauren Hayden and coach Nick Moore.
Items For A Deserted Island: A fire starter, knife, my lacrosse stick, a ball and a pot.