Some teens would be happy to excel in one sport, but Katie Trombetta has the good fortune of being made up of lacrosse and field hockey DNA.
The daughter of two Division I athletes – mom Patty played field hockey at Michigan and dad Chris played lacrosse at Delaware – Katie, a freshman at Sachem High School East, isn’t quite a chip off the old block, because she might be better than both.
Already recognized on Long Island as a threat on both fields, Trombetta has her sights set on playing both sports in college, preferably Princeton if it all works out.
“Sometimes it feels like we want her to choose between sports,” said Patty, who was a three-sport athlete at Sachem before graduating in 1986 and is an assistant principal at Sagamore Middle School, “but we don’t. She has dad for lacrosse and me with field hockey.”
Her coaches rave about her raw ability, something that could help Sachem win Long Island and state titles for years to come.
“Katie is a great kid with so much talent,” said East lacrosse coach Allie Bourgal. “She not only has the ability to be the best, but she has the character and the determination that every athlete should strive for. She is the type of athlete that any coach would want on their team and I look forward to working with her for the next four years.”
Field hockey coach , a former Division I product herself at UConn, concurs.
“She has exceptional vision, unbelievable game sense and knowledge of her sports for such a young player, as well as her ability to lead a team,” she said. “The fact that Katie has three more years to play field hockey and lacrosse is not only amazing, but exciting.”
To think that a player, who has already been dubbed All-Long Island and All-Sachem Patch First Team at such a callow stage of her athletic development, speaks words of promise for both her own individual athletic career and the potential for success on a program level.
She grew up on the sidelines while her mom was coaching the field hockey team at Harborfields, an invaluable experience she endured at a prime time for her development.
The family tries not to utilize the dinner table for talk sessions in their Holbrook establishment, but it’s difficult when both parents grew up with Division I work ethics and mindsets. Both Trombetta parents maintain a levelheaded approach and only give advice when necessary. It’s paying off so far.
In the fall she led the field hockey team, packed with senior talent, with 23 points. This spring Trombetta will be looked upon for similar scoring leadership in lacrosse. Which leads to the big question … which sport does she like better?
“To be honest,” she said, “I don’t even know. They’re both team sports, but I’m able to perform as a single player to help my teams win.”
Had the Trombetta family not moved back to Long Island from Pennsylvania in 1999, this interesting Sachem bloodline story may never have been written. Patty, who graduated from Sachem as Patty Farley and comes from a long line of athletes, interviewed with Sachem for an administrative position and accepted the district’s offer, allowing her to leave Harborfields and welcoming her back to a community she was fond of for many years.
“I think my kids are going to experience Sachem the way I did, which was wonderful,” she said. “I have nothing but wonderful, wonderful memories. With the leadership that’s here now, they are going to experience that.”
Patty’s brother Michael was a stud on the football team, winning the Zellner Award in 1983 as Suffolk County’s top lineman and played college football at Cornell. Her sister Keri still ranks second all-time in Cornell basketball history with 1,380 career points and holds the school record for most points in a game with 41, which she dropped against Harvard in March 1995. Then there is uncle John Schmitt, who won Super Bowl III with the New York Jets as the center for Joe Namath.
Patty’s proudest moment at Michigan was scoring the only goal in a 1-0 win over hated Ohio State. It wound up being the only goal she ever scored in college because she was a defender.
“The best thing that ever happened to me was going to Michigan,” she said.
Ironically, had legendary Sachem football coach not called early one morning to speak with Patty on the phone about Michigan, that chapter in her life may never had been written.
“He picks up the phone, it was probably 8 in the morning, to call John Elliott and woke him up,” she said. “I was a nervous wreck. I didn’t think of him as Jumbo then, I thought of him as one of my brother’s teammates. He said you have to come out here, you’ll love it.”
Chris, who is very involved with the girls lacrosse program in the Sachem Sports Club, has had to overcome his own adversity being a Ward Melville graduate marrying a Sachem girl, raising Sachem daughters and living in Sachem country. His green and gold Melville attire has long been tucked away. He was fortunate to play for two legends in Joe Cuozzo at Ward Melville and Bob Shillinglaw at Delaware, both of whom are some of the most respected lacrosse coaches in the world.
Even with the athletic lineage, it doesn’t faze Trombetta, who is caught up in teenage life and going from one travel game or camp to another. And guess what folks ... her younger sister Kara is coming up the ranks next, meaning the Trombetta girls are teeing off for another half-decade of new Sachem history yet to be written.