By Lizzy Hughes 

Staff Writer

Photo of Varsity Field Hockey 2021 seniors

With fall sports starting in Howard County, Hammond Field Hockey is in the middle of their season. COVID-19 has brought many challenges for many players on the team, but the Hammond Varsity team continues to improve from their last season.

This year Hammond only had enough players for one varsity team, but all of the players have worked hard to win several games so far.

Hammond’s Varsity head coach Abell states: “The season is going great, especially for a pandemic. The team is having fun and making improvements as we make our way through the season. COVID-19 has definitely impacted the way practices run, but we warm up separately to comply with social distancing. We also do more individual prep, and the girls are excited to be out and having fun playing the sport they enjoy.” 

Coach Abell goes on to describe how only playing in-county teams has changed the intensity of the team’s games and practices. She says “Our Record so far is 6-2 and our record is never going to set the dynamic for the performance in games. These girls are super competitive, and they work hard to push themselves no matter the score or record. We played amazingly well during our game against Centennial, and we actually play better when we are against higher-skilled teams. We focus on all the positive achievements from games, both individually and as a program.”

Junior Maddie Stryker shares her feelings about the Hammond field hockey program: “I’m feeling really good and honestly just really happy that we are getting to still play even with this pandemic. Having some sense of normalcy back in my life and being back on the field always puts a smile on my face knowing I get to play with my amazing team!”

Stryker states her favorite thing about the field hockey program is “that I feel like we have just grown more together as a family especially this year. I absolutely just love being out there every day playing, practicing, and just having fun with everyone! I seriously would not want to be with any other field hockey team and I am just so grateful to have the opportunity to play even with a pandemic going on right now.”

Sophomore Sarah Renkevens also feels good about the coaches and the season. She explains, “The season has been really fun so far and I’m so grateful that we’ve been able to play despite covid. The coaches also give me lots of motivation and push me to be the best I can be. They build the team as a family, and we always support each other.”

Coach Abell is excited for all of the seniors to finish their final year and excited for the new players who have been able to pick up the sport so quickly. She is hopeful that Hammond will have a large freshman and sophomore class that will want to play field hockey this coming fall. 

Abell continues by discussing the skills of several players on the team this season. The team’s goalkeeper sophomore Lily DeBlasio “keeps her head high during games and upholds a positive attitude no matter what comes her way or how many goals are scored against her.” Freshmen Naomi Willis and Charlotte lamp have also “worked very hard to become solid field hockey players. They are learning so fast, and this is very exciting to have underclassman growth.” 

Hammond field hockey has continued to grow as a family and a program, and the pandemic has changed the way that coaches and players approach the game and practices. Both the coaches and players feel great about this season, and it will be interesting to see how the rest of this season goes.