STUDENT Spotlight
Sarah Schaeffler, Field Hockey Player

Student Spotlight is a regularly-updated feature that highlights Baltimore County Public Schools students involved in a wide range of activities and programs. Spotlighted students receive and answer a series of questions through which they share their experiences. In this Student Spotlight, Sarah Schaeffler, a senior at Dulaney High School, discusses playing field hockey. (To see more student spotlights, click here.) Student Spotlight

Why did you start playing field hockey?
My mom signed me up for just about every rec sport possible as a kid, so when my friends’ moms decided to start Cockeysville Rec Council field hockey, it was a no-brainer that I would be playing.

When did you start playing field hockey?
I started playing the year Cockeysville Rec Council was first started, so it was Grade 2 for me.

What related experience did you have when you started field hockey?
I had previously played recreational sports, such as basketball, lacrosse, soccer and cheerleading.

How did you become a field hockey player at your school?
I had played club and rec council field hockey coming into freshman year so I knew it was something I definitely wanted to continue in high school. Plus, my sister was a part of the program, and I have always looked up to her.

How do you practice/prepare for field hockey?
I practice through high school and club practices mainly. I’ve always loved club during the off-season because indoor hockey is really fun and a great way to improve stick skills as well as playing in outdoor tournaments with the girls you don’t get to play high school hockey with. Field hockey is a speed sport, so conditioning is key. I participate in the Bigger Faster Stronger conditioning program at Dulaney to stay in shape during the off-season and run on my own when I get the chance.

Have you won any awards/honors for field hockey?
I was selected to participate in the senior All-Star game this year after the season had ended. Additionally, I was the Varsity Athlete of the Month for Dulaney High’s student newspaper, Griffin.  I’ve also been awarded the Baltimore County Scholar Athlete Award, All-Academic Team Award and Minds in Motion Award for all four seasons of field hockey at Dulaney.

What is the most rewarding part of being a field hockey player?
The most rewarding part is seeing all of your hard work pay off. This season, our head coach, Kelly Fialcowitz, would always say that “talk is cheap”; if you want to prove something to people, you have to work towards it every day. This kind of philosophy is what got our team through 6:30 a.m. conditioning practices and daily sprints. In the end, coach was right, and all of our hard work paid off big this year with county and regional titles.

What is the most challenging part of being a field hockey player?
I truly believe that field hockey is a mental game. In this sport, mistakes happen all the time, and it’s impossible to play a full game with zero mistakes. I think the hardest part of this sport is mentally preparing yourself for every game and coming into every dodge and every tackle with complete confidence. Once you get past the mental side of this sport, you’re golden, but I’ve had a lot of teammates who tear themselves up over every mistake, and it definitely affects their play. And, as a field hockey player, I’ve been there, too, a few times. It’s not about making the mistakes; it’s about what you do to recover from them.

What advice do you have for other aspiring field hockey players?
My advice is to pick up a stick and try it! Field hockey is honestly an amazing sport. It’s super exciting and fun to play and seeing yourself improve in it is really rewarding. You’ll never forget the day you nail your first reverse chip; I still remember exactly where I was standing when I got mine.  Also, perseverance is key in this sport because it’s challenging at first, but putting the time into it really pays off!

What are your hopes for this school year?
I’m trying to just finish out senior year strong in everything I do, from athletics to academics to extracurricular activities. I want to leave high school with no regrets. I don’t want to leave for college thinking, “What if?” or knowing I didn’t put my best foot forward. Coincidentally, we would paste motivational words on our sticks for all big games this season, and the words for the last high school game I ever played were “No Regrets,” so I’m trying to carry that through for the rest of the year.

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