A competitive basketball player and a natural leader

By JENELYN RUSSO     3/26/2016

Pickup games with the boys on the school playground were where Catie Woodward first got her start in basketball. Her love for the game is a result of what playing basketball has brought out in her.

“The best thing about playing basketball for me is the fight,” says Woodward. “It just builds up inside of me. That’s the best feeling, especially when you get the outcome you want.”


As a senior and power forward for Santa Margarita Catholic High School, Woodward has put her focus into learning who she is as a player and how to best use her skill set.

“Even though…I may not be the one who scores the most points, I can give to this team in a different way—defensive rebounds, offensive rebounds, passes, assists, steals—anything I can do to play to my level and to make my team better…that’s what I want to do,” Woodward says.

A competitive player and natural born leader, Woodward leads her team as a co-captain, a role that she’s filled each year for the Eagles, even before she was officially given the title.

“Since I [was] a freshman, I’ve always had the philosophy that you can be a leader without being named a captain. So finally being able to have this position as a title…it’s an amazing feeling,” says the four-year varsity player. “Leading my team, I want them to respect me as much as I respect them.”

With a desire to leave the program better than when she came, Woodward’s energy and enthusiasm have made her a key part of the Eagles’ success, including a 2014 CIF-SS Championship.

“Catie is passionate about the important things in life and is not afraid to speak her mind about the things she cares about,” says Santa Margarita head varsity girls basketball coach, Craig DeBusk. “I can always count on her to get the team ready and focused to play.”

Off the court, Woodward’s “happy place” is at the barn, where she rides and cares for horses. Woodward is also the founder of the Varsity Arts club on campus and is part of the school’s Peer Ministry team, where the 18-year old serves as a Eucharistic minister. Her faith plays a significant role in her life, both as an athlete and a student.

“Prayer has always been there for me,” says Woodward. “Even though sometimes you can’t really feel like anything is happening, in the end, I always turn around and look and God was there for me.”

The Rancho Santa Margarita resident plans to pursue a degree in communications and visual arts, with the possibility of continuing to play the sport that has impacted her life.

“Basketball has taught me to be patient and to be ferocious in whatever I want,” says Woodward. “You can’t be weak in this sport. You have to be strong, and that’s something I’ll carry with me throughout life.”