As the second day of school at Mount Vernon High School ended, the members of the field hockey team gathered at the baseball field for practice. For nine of these players, this season will be their last.
“I’m just sad,” said senior Megan Cole, who plays defense for the varsity team. “I’m looking forward to having a really good year with my best friends.”
Many of the seniors have been playing the game for their entire high school careers. When they started ninth grade, many of them made plans to try out for field hockey together. Lizzy Sagar, who plays left high midfield, said trying out for field hockey was initially just a way to be with friends, but it became more than that.
“I started off because all of my friends were doing it. We planned to get involved” said Sagar. “But I realized that I just really enjoyed the game and stuck with it.”
Over the past four years, the team has brought home two state championships and grown into true leaders. Many of the seniors share the goal of getting past the first round of regionals this year, just to add the cherry on top of a great high school athletic career.
The friendships they’ve built with each other and the teammates they’re leaving behind has grown over the years. They love and respect their teammates and know they’ll continue to do well on the field without them.
“I think we’re good because of the chemistry we have on and off the field,” said Sagar. “We’re friends, and they have to stay strong off the field as well as on the field.” Cole agreed with Sagar, adding that the team has to stay close as friends and teammates to hold on to the chemistry that makes them play so well together.
Coach Jessica Hebel said she’ll miss her seniors, but because of their individuality and leadership, the team will be fine because they’ve all learned from each other.
“They’re leaders. Their differences make them who they are, and individually they’re very different,” said Hebel. “Because of that they encourage them to be different and they keep the team cohesive.”
Although the girls are leaving, they will carry with them many memories and lessons they’ve learned on the field, including teamwork, sportsmanship and dedication.
“I think I’m going to miss the amount of focus we all have,” said Gabby Ocker, left forward. “Before the games, you can feel how we come together.”
The nine players may be leaving MVHS, but they still look forward to playing the game in college. They’re all looking at different schools, including Virginia Tech, University of North Carolina Chapel Hill and Princeton. Most of them have plans to at least play on a club or intramural team. Hebel said they should play sports in college to enhance their college experience.
“Play sports in college. It will make the experience better,” said Hebel. “I know some people feel like with sports and everything else going on, it will be too much. But I feel like you play sports and it makes you manage your time and schedule, and it’s not always hard to balance.”
The senior players hope for the best for their teammates and look forward to seeing the field hockey program grow at MVHS. They have confidence in their teammates and know they’ll enjoy the sport and play their best game every time.
“I just hope they do well next year,” said defensive midfielder Sabrina Smith. “And have fun.”
Junior Varsity coach Kelsey Otersen describes them as high-energy and commanding. They described themselves as blessed and dedicated. And these are all elements they brought to the field each and every game of their high school careers.
“I love them, and I’ll miss them just like I miss them every year,” said Hebel. “I just want them to know that I really appreciate them. Position-wise, they’ll be replaced, but personality-wise and as individuals, they irreplaceable.”