By DAVE RICCI
The Tonawanda News
KENMORE — Just call them the Devil Dogs.
The Kenmore field hockey team, in its first season and made up of girls from Kenmore East and Kenmore West, doesn't even have an official nickname yet. But the girls do have a couple of wins under their belts, and the talent to make a deep playoff run.
Born out of a budget issue that required the two Ken-Ton high schools to blend their programs, the Kenmore varsity field hockey team was officially born in May of this year.
Early results show this as being a smart move by the district, as Kenmore opened its season with wins over Medina and Newfane. The team now sits at 7-1 and boats a 5-1 mark in Niagara-Orleans play.
After the two schools experienced success this past winter during the first season of its joint ice hockey team, one might think that blending the field hockey teams would be a no-brainer.
Not necessarily, pointed out Kenmore coach Jeff Orlowski, who also coaches the Kenmore ice hockey team.
"It's different because with the ice hockey team we didn't have any history," Orlowski said. "They were just so happy to have ice hockey in the town that they didn't care (that East and West) were playing together.
"This was a whole different ball game because these girls were rivals. They didn't like each other. They were taught not to. It's in their blood, the East-West rivalry in Kenmore. I've got to give accolades to all four of the captains — Morgan (Obrochta), Adriana (King), Lauren (Gantz) and Laura (Werwinski). They just brought this team together."
When you consider the field hockey rivalry set against the backdrop of the 50-plus years of the East-West feud, well, it was only natural for players to have some uncertainly or hesitation when they first heard the teams were merging.
"The girls from West, I know, were definitely a little anxious about it," said Ken West junior Adriana King. "We were a little nervous because we didn't know the East girls as much. The one thing that did help was the JV has been merged for the past couple years ... We were definitely anxious about how we'd get along because this is always a big rivalry."
It did take a bit of time for the girls to come together. The first couple of weeks were rough, with the West girls staying close together and the East girls naturally gravitating toward each other. But a flurry of early-season team bonding events showed all of the girls how much they had in common.
"On and off the field, we've made the best of friends," said Kenmore East senior Morgann Obrochta. "Adriana and I are best friends now, who knew?"