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Small Town Girl, Big Time Dreams

Updated: Jan 20, 2022

It was always my dream to go to the Olympics, the dream just looks a little bit different now than it did when I was younger.



Growing up in a small town in Central Pennsylvania, I never truly envisioned playing field hockey in college, let alone on the National Team. Growing up, I always played a handful of sports, ranging from travel soccer, to competitive swim, to softball and even basketball. But, I always dreamed of going to the Olympics, I remember sitting in our living room watching all of the sports on the TV and saying to myself “Wow, I want to be like them.” However, my original dream actually consisted of swimming in the Olympics, as crazy as that sounds. Field hockey was never in the cards for me until my older sister, of 6 years, started playing first and went to a summer camp where she met the club team coach of East Coast Field Hockey. If it wasn’t for her, I would have never picked up a stick, and would have never been traveling with the USA Women’s National Team to compete in a World Cup Qualifier.


As cliche as it sounds, I believe everything happens for a reason. It all started when my sister began traveling 1.5 hours to Harrisburg to train with East Coast. Being the clingy, annoying little sister who loved sports, I traveled with her to almost every tournament and lots of her training sessions. There was one U19 tournament she was at where her team was down numbers and needed a player to step in. Despite being 6 years younger than the girls, I was competitive and determined to help in anyway that I could. From there, I fell in love with the game, playing in tournaments in age groups above my own, so I could get as much exposure as possible.


I began to look up to older players, especially my sister, to aspire to be like them. My sister went on to play in college where she met and loved an interim coach at UVA, Jun Kentwell. My sister pushed for my parents to let me travel 3+ hours to train under Jun at WC Eagles in Philadelphia where I could play with girls in my own age group and develop there. I remember some of my first practices there, the timidness and shyness I had to join, as most of the girls had been playing together already for years. However, I didn’t let this get in the way of my passion for the game, I worked as hard as I could in every practice and tournament to earn a spot on the top court there. From there, I developed friendships with girls who have actually been my teammates at UNC as well as on the National Team.


A lot of people thought I was crazy to travel 3 hours almost three times a week just to practice. But, without this, I would’ve never been where I am today. My parents and I made a lot of sacrifices. I gave up a lot of the normal middle school and high school experiences that kids have. I’d miss almost every weekend and dances, including prom, to train and travel internationally to China, South Africa, New Zealand, etc, with my club and USA team. I remember being so excited to start college hockey and be determined to be an impact player, I took extra classes and online classes to graduate High School a semester early and enroll in UNC in the spring of 2017. I was thrown right into conditioning, lifts and spring competition where I was the lone younger girl, but I loved every second of it. I cherished every moment that spring, because I finally had training and school in one place and was training with a team at such a high caliber.



Everything seemed to be going great, and I felt like stars were aligning for me. I was a freshman starter where we made it to the final 4, the following year, 2018, we became undefeated National Champions and I was training with the U21 National Team in hopes of getting pulled up to the Senior team. However, God have a bit of a different plan for me. I ended up tearing my ACL in the spring of 2019 and was sidelined for the 2019 Fall season. It was really hard to be sidelined, especially with a big injury like ACL surgery. I remember saying that this injury was my biggest fear before it happened to me. However, I learned a lot about myself, took on a new role in helping my team, and pushed myself past my comfort zone to come back stronger mentally and physically.


It was definitely a challenge to return to playing, I had to fight off a lot of negative thoughts that would creep into my head involving a lot of “what ifs…” However, once I pushed past the mental blocks of ACL rehab, and trusted all the hard-work I put in, I was able to ease back into playing, as if nothing happened. I was so excited to be back playing, I was willing to do anything and everything to help my team succeed. So when my coach told me she wanted to move me to defensive center-mid, I took it as a challenge to become the best I could at this position. Going from left back, to being sidelined with an ACL, to playing center-mid, was very challenging. But I like challenges. I worked everyday on my fitness and speed. During covid, I stayed on campus to have access to an open field where I would go out to work on my ball handling skills, and skills needed to midfielders. Thankfully, I was healthy and was able to be apart of the 2020 team to help win another National Championship, this being so special to me.


My journey back into the USA pipeline is a bit more comical. Despite being sidelined for a year after hoping to make the senior team, I was determined to get my name back on a national team roster. The development team coach invited me a tryout in California in March 2020, right before COVID hit. It was right after I was cleared to start playing again, and I remember my parents did not want me to go AT ALL. Despite my families concerns, I was so confident in myself and my work, that I blocked my family on social media and booked my ticket to California for training. It wasn’t until the camp was over, and USAFH tweeted a picture with me in it, that my dad texted me and my cover was blown. However, they were happy that I was strong, healthy, and named to the Development team that spring.


My path with USA continued when I was invited to a training session with the Senior National Team the Summer 2021 with the new appointed head coaches. Following trainings and more tryouts I was named to the team in June, a dream come true. The road to this milestone, was not easy, it consisted of a lot of ups and downs, but I stayed true to my goal and embraced the journey I was on. I’m excited to be apart of the future for USA Field Hockey, and I can’t wait to compete in the Pan Ams to try and qualify for the World Cup.


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