North graduate C.J. McCarthy, second from right, was one of the league's best defensemen during her years of playing girls' varsity hockey for the Norsemen.
August 22, 2013Hockey is in her blood and Grosse Pointe North graduate C.J. Wilson followed her passion to Adrian College.
The 18-year-old Grosse Pointe Woods resident is going to be a student-athlete this fall, playing for the Bulldogs' women's hockey team under the tutelage of head coach Chad Davis.
"It's a newer program and it looks like a great fit for me," McCarthy said. "I wanted to go to a small school and get that small-town feeling. I love Adrian's campus and the town is small.
"I'm going to play college hockey and it's a great fit for what I was looking for."
The Bulldogs finished 20-7 last year, ending the season with a tough 2-1 loss to Wisconsin-Stevens Point.
Kelsey Kusch led the team with 20 goals and was second with 19 assists. Her 39 points led the Bulldogs.
She played in all 27 games and hails from St. Clair Shores and is the top returning scorer.
McCarthy, who began playing hockey in third grade for the Grosse Pointe Hockey Association, is a life-long defenseman.
She played all four years on the Norsemen's girls' varsity hockey team under head coaches Scott Dockett and Joe Lucchese.
During her career, she helped the Norsemen win two Michigan Metro Girls High School Hockey League Division 1 titles and play in four consecutive Final Fours.
The team made the finals in 2012, but lost 4-1 to arch rival Grosse Pointe South.
"It was great to make the finals my junior year, but it was disappointing to lose to South," McCarthy said. "I liked playing hockey for coach Dockett and coach Lucchese. We had good teams and learned a lot about the game.
"I feel comfortable going to play at Adrian. It will be fun competing against very good players and playing on a team loaded with good players."
McCarthy scored one goal and had 12 assists as a senior. She was one of the Norsemen's top defensemen each of her four years.
Before arriving at North, she played travel hockey for the Grosse Pointe Bulldogs, Mount Clemens Wolves, Belle Tire, Little Caesars and Honey Baked.
She dabbled in field hockey and lacrosse while at North, but her true love is ice hockey. She, did, spend the first semester of her sophomore year at Warren Regina.
"My mom graduated from Regina and my cousins go there, so my parents really wanted me to go there," McCarthy said. "I went my sophomore year, but I just didn't like it. I wanted to go back to North and my parents said I could transfer back."
Her parents, Caryn and Robert, spoke to Michigan High School Athletic Association representatives and found out because she actually didn't play on Regina's hockey team, I was eligible to play right away for North when she transferred back for the second semester.
She excelled for the Norsemen and her best moment during high school hockey was beating rival South during her junior season.
"I played with and against many of the South players while I played on travel teams, so beating them was special," McCarthy said. "I had a lot of great moments playing with my North teammates for four years.
"We won a lot of games and a couple of division titles, so we were very successful. We never won a state title and I thought we could win it the past couple of seasons. It didn't work out, but it's all right."
She started out a little slow, but was bound and determined to improve as a hockey player.
She asked her dad to sign her up for camps and lessons, and after hard work and determination, she became a very solid defenseman.
McCarthy spent plenty of time earning a 3.4 grade point average and is ready for what Adrian's professors throw at her.
"It's going to be a little hectic playing hockey and studying, but I'm confident I can do it," she said. "I want to play lacrosse, too, but I will have to see how it goes with hockey."
She reported to Adrian Aug. 18 with all the freshmen.
Her class schedule starts shortly after and hockey practice begins in preparation for the season opener at 8 p.m. Friday, Nov. 1, at Lake Forest.
McCarthy was given a workout schedule by Davis and is diligently doing everything she can to stay in tip-top shape.
Included in her workouts is swimming. She is a lifeguard at Grosse Pointe Farms' Pier Park and gets every opportunity to swim.
"Swimming is a great way to help me stay in hockey shape," she said. "I'm ready to go and I know I can earn playing time if I work hard and play well."