By the time she started playing ice hockey, Makena Webster was already 7 years old, but her field hockey career began when she was in a physical education class.
Growing up in St. Louis and attending elementary school, Webster’s gym teacher also coached field hockey. One day, Webster’s gym teacher organized field hockey as a classroom activity, and this is where her double-playing career began.
“We were doing field hockey as a unit of ours, and I was doing well in it. And he told me I should try or play for a club in St. Louis called Gateway, so the next year when I started ice hockey, I got into field hockey in the second grade,” said Webster . “And ever since, I’ve been playing both field and ice hockey.”
Webster transferred to Ohio State in May after playing the previous two seasons on the Wisconsin women’s ice hockey team. Despite growing up playing two sports, Webster competed in just one at the collegiate level with the Badgers women’s ice hockey team, as Wisconsin does not offer field hockey as a varsity sport.
However, he earned the Frozen Four Most Outstanding Player in 2020 by winning the national championship. She represented the United States at the International Ice Hockey Federation Under-18 Women’s World Championships and won the gold medal twice from 2018-20.
Nevertheless, Webster still pursued his passion for both field and ice hockey. Continuing his Gateway Field Hockey Club career, Webster played all the way through high school and most recently progressed with his team to the 2021 USA Field Hockey National Club Championship game in July 2021.
It was with Team USA where Webster became acquainted with Ohio State field hockey head coach Jared Martin, who has coached the United States under-17 national team since 2015. Martin said he saw her compete in both ice and field sports.
“It’s one thing to do both — I think it’s quite another to be so successful at both,” Martin said. “But I think it just goes to show who she is as a person, her athleticism, her competitiveness. Just her commitment. I mean, she just loves, loves to play.”
Webster fled Wisconsin in April and entered the relocation portal. He recorded 66 points, 35 assists and 31 goals during his Badger career, including leading his team with 30 assists and finishing third last season with 53 points and 23 goals.
Webster said she enjoyed her experiences and career in Wisconsin but wanted to continue playing field hockey.
“My first two years of college were just playing ice hockey, but then I was really missing field hockey,” Webster said. “Playing it and helping out at getaway camps during the summer, I realized just how much I missed it and decided to enter the portal.”
Ohio State women’s ice hockey head coach Nadine Mujeral and the Buckeyes captured the first national championship in the program’s history. March 20, Once Mujerle learned that Webster intended to relocate from Wisconsin, she got into communication.
Meanwhile, Martin said Gateway Field Hockey Associate Director Kate Graft — Webster’s club field hockey coach in St. Louis — reached out to him with the message that Webster had entered the transfer portal, so he also picked up the phone.
“As soon as I found out, I reached out to Makena, just talking about what she was looking for,” Martin said. “I told her I’m like, ‘I’d love to be your coach. Nadine would love to be your coach. It’s going to be a unique situation, but you have to be the kind to push the envelope.’ “
Mujerle said because Webster had only played ice hockey in Wisconsin, she was only in the transfer portal for that game.
Mujerall said he supported Webster’s idea of double-playing prospects, in hopes of achieving his aspirations of landing a key player in the Western Collegiate Hockey Association. He recalled his own football career growing up, saying that he “always regrets” not checking his collegiate football opportunities before joining ice hockey, so Muzzerall is the reason for both him and Webster. Thank you for getting the best.
“With the resources we have here, with our strength and conditioning, and with our nutritionists and our sports psychologists and our academic advisors, she’s going to be really supported,” Mujerol said. “So I backed off in the end because I trust my employees to balance for her and keep an eye on, you know, that she doesn’t burn.”
For Webster, she will compete closer to family, she said. Her father is from Cleveland and attended Kent State, and she has more relatives in Indiana. He’ll get the chance to play both field and ice hockey at Ohio State, a program he’s already familiar with.
“It was always a tough game, like a great rivalry between Wisconsin-Ohio State. Ohio State is just a tough team to play,” said Webster. “They’re always working hard, and they’re always physical and everything. and I just love the way Coach Mujerol has coached him.”
The Buckeyes field hockey team begins pre-season showings against Ohio on August 17, and the women’s ice hockey program begins its season at Minnesota State on September 30, so Webster will be challenged by an overlap of the two games.
But Webster, Martin and Mujerle are not worried. The three plan to communicate with each other and not set a specific schedule, but Webster is excited to have the opportunity to play the two games she likes under one uniform.
“I think we are going to take it day by day. Just a good relationship with all the staff members,” said Webster. “It is obviously going to be tough, but at the end of the day, it is a It’s going to be a great experience, and we’ll see how it goes.”