Courtney Peterson ’17 showed up ready to play.
Take, for example, the field hockey team’s NCAA Tournament Second Round game against Ursinus College last fall: Peterson, a first-year, stormed her way to a goal and an assist in her tourney debut, helping secure the program record for wins in a season and propelling the Blue into the NCAA Elite Eight for only the second time in the hockey program’s history.
Peterson’s performance was par for the course: Over her rookie season, she hung with the team’s leaders in points, goals, and assists. She also made her mark on the Wellesley lacrosse team, which showed steady improvement, falling just short of a NEWMAC conference tournament appearance.
“Courtney’s someone other coaches look out for,” says head field hockey coach Julia King. “She has a competitive streak that you can’t really teach. She wants to win, and you see that every game.”
Peterson allows that she’s racked up some notable statistics, but she’s quick to give credit to her teammates, and especially to her sister Meghan Peterson, a junior who also suits up for the field hockey and lacrosse teams.
“I love that there are sisters on the team,” says head lacrosse coach Julia McPhee. “I’ll see the two of them have these moments where they exchange looks, or have quick words—I really love to see that relationship, and it helps set the tone for the rest of the team to become more of a family.”
“We’re so close off the field, and that translates really nicely on the field,” says Meghan Peterson. “We read each other really well, and we push each other harder than most teammates would.”
It’s probably safe to say, though, that nobody pushes Courtney Peterson harder than she pushes herself. “I was diagnosed with cystic fibrosis when I was a couple of weeks old,” she explains. “A lot of people can’t believe that I play sports—but sports help me stay healthy. It’s a challenge, but I don’t let cystic fibrosis get in the way of my life.”
“I don’t think anyone treats her any differently,” her sister says. “It just doesn’t limit her at all. Playing two college sports is such a big accomplishment for anyone, and it’s because of Courtney’s attitude that she’s able to get past all of these boundaries that she’s been warned about. I think Courtney sees it as that she has to stay healthy, or else she’ll be letting the team down.”
“I chose Wellesley because I wanted to experience something different,” Peterson says. “I wanted a different setting, and I wanted a school that was going to challenge me. I’ve found all that here. Attending Wellesley was the best decision I’ve ever made.”