Colette, the final Dreher sister, leaves her own mark at Stonington

Wethersfield — Sometimes, we old(er) folks enjoy mocking high school drama. Oooh. Tough life. Go to school, take an occasional exam, play a sport. Or maybe the tuba. Text all day. Roll your eyes intermittently.

And then there's Colette Dreher, a kid with a pretty famous surname in Stonington, a kid who plays within the school's most successful athletic program, a kid who can't exhale without someone comparing her to some hint of the past.

Colette is the final Dreher to pass through the halls of Stonington High. Perhaps temporarily so, anyway, on the chance that Meagan, Cameron or Colette don't have children who one day wear the brown and white. But for now, the final Dreher, the last of eight in the extended family, was on the turf of Wethersfield High in Tuesday's state Class S field hockey semifinals.

"I always have felt like I need to carry a certain reputation," Dreher was saying, amid the immediate sting of an overtime loss to (choice school) Immaculate and its kids from 28 different towns and two states.

"We're the Drehers. We're athletic. We're academically inclined. I have to maintain that. I don't want to go down as the one who didn't do it. I want to be the one who continued the legacy."

She did just fine, what with the all-state designation this season, carrying the Bears to the Final Four in Class S.

Think about her plight, though:

At home, she is the youngest of three girls. Meagan played on Stonington's 2013 state championship team. Cameron played three sports, perpetually earning some kind of hardware. Her dad, Andy, is a member of the school's Hall of Fame. Aunts and uncles have played, too.

At school, she's compared to her sisters as if by habit.

On the field, she was one of (a very) few returning players to a program that is a two-time state champ, perennial state title contender and has won the Eastern Connecticut Conference since what feels like the days Khrushchev was banging his shoe on the table.

And she welcomed it all the way all the Drehers have.

"She's smart. A good leader. So positive," Stonington coach Jenna Tucchio said. "She really never gives up. On anything. Even when we were down tonight (2-1 and 3-2 in the second half) and some of the other girls seemed down, she kept that positive attitude. She generated transition, generated attack and her teammates rallied around her."

Tucchio, despite cutting an annual swath through the ECC, wasn't sure the Bears would uphold the tradition in 2018. Graduation losses left some questions. Happily, there was an answer on defense, name of Colette.

"I didn't do anything alone here," Dreher said. "I loved every minute of it this season. I'm proud of everything we did. I came in this summer not knowing how it was going to be. Our underclassmen had to step up tremendously. Teagan O'Brien, Ellie Korinek, Sandy McGugan, Sophia Fernholz ... they all did great."

There's still softball season left for Dreher, who has the rest of the school year remaining for her teachers to at least learn her name. OK so there was some hyperbole there. So many Drehers, so little time, apparently.

"It takes a while for teachers to remember my name," Dreher said. "I get Cameron ... Meagan ... oh, yeah, Colette. I hear, 'your sister acted like this, how come you don't?' Or, 'your sister's great at this.' I say, 'Yeah? Well, I'm mediocre.'"

And with that, Dreher grinned.

Mediocrity is not exactly the family's chief export.

"I keep telling their mom and their dad, 'you don't have anymore?'" Tucchio said. "Those girls were unique in their own way. All very special. They brought a lot of energy and a lot of skill. All great players in their own way."

This is the opinion of Day sports columnist Mike DiMauro


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