BY YANEEK SMITH, BEACON CONTRIBUTOR
Seree Petersen chose Ohio Christian University because it allowed her the opportunity to play soccer in college. But she’s also grown to love the university and her fellow students, making for an ideal combination.
Petersen, a defender/midfielder, has started all three games for the Trail Blazers, who find themselves 1-2 in the young season.
“I love it here. I don’t think I could’ve made a better choice,” Petersen said. “The team has grown so much compared to last year, it makes us so excited about what lies ahead.
“I came here with my sister during my junior year of high school. The girls were so welcoming and God-loving. The coach was very open and honest. I got way more out of that than I thought I would. (The school) has a very good early childhood education program with 95% career placement.”
OCU is a private university that has 3,300 students. It is affiliated with the Churches of Christ in Christian Union and is located in Circleville, Ohio, 29 miles south of Columbus. The Trail Blazers compete in the NAIA’s River States Conference, which includes colleges in Ohio, Indiana, Kentucky, Pennsylvania and West Virginia.
Petersen, who was a four-year starter at Oak Harbor High School in both soccer and softball. She could have played softball in college if she wanted to, but instead chose soccer.)
“I love practicing. You don’t know what to expect,” she said. “Being with the team and doing the small things to improve is important. It’s on the next level, it’s insane. Everyone is pushing each other to get better.”
The sophomore is currently taking 18 credit hours, a full schedule that would be demanding for any student, let alone one playing a college sport. Petersen credits the faculty with being there to help.
“In the classes I would struggle with, professors would stay after and help,” said Petersen. “You can text them, tell them you’re struggling with an essay or something, and they’ll help you. They want you to achieve your goals. I love that OCU is Christian and a small college.”
When she’s not studying or playing soccer, Petersen, a devout Christian, is eager to talk about her beliefs. Over the summer, she and some of her teammates went on a mission trip to Costa Rica.
“Oh, my gosh, it was amazing. We met so many awesome people. It was rice and beans every single day, but that wasn’t what defined the trip,” said Petersen. “It was awesome to see the country and interact with the children.”
Petersen also cherished her time playing soccer for the Rockets, whom she led to four Sandusky Bay Conference titles and a district championship.
“I learned how to be a leader at Oak Harbor. Not a lot of the girls were playing travel soccer, so it also taught me to help others grow around me,” Petersen said. “I took that with me here — it’s more about how the team does than how we do individually.”