June 20, 2017
Rising senior Maddy Humphrey spent last week at the USA Field Hockey Young Women’s National Championship in Lancaster, Pa. She shared her experience – and some advice for future Buckeyes – with OhioStateBuckeyes.com.
The USA Field Hockey’s Young Women’s National Championship is the most elite tournament in the United States for high-level field hockey athletes. To be selected to the tournament, athletes must try-out for their regional team during the off season in the spring, and these sessions are called High Performance. The regional teams practice multiple times throughout April, May and June as a tryout to make the Young Women’s National Championship in June. I was a part of the Midwest squad for High Performance that had regional practices at Northwestern and Louisville. The tournament serves as a selection process for the U-21 National Team Camp and the U.S. Women’s National Developmental Team Camp (which had a combination of current U.S. Women National Team Members mixed in). Last year, I was fortunate to be selected for the U-21 National Team Camp directly following the tournament. This year’s tournament was my third time being selected to the Young Women’s National Championship tournament. I love the whole experience of High Performance and the tournament because it is the highest level of competition that we athletes can experience over the summer and offseason.
I am from Virginia Beach, Virginia, but I have chosen every year to play for the Midwest Squad, mainly because I have split my summers at home and here up at Ohio State. However, this past May I was in Virginia Beach for a break before I headed back up to Columbus for this summer’s internship, Bucks Go Pro, so the majority of the practices I had to travel far by plane (to Northwestern) and then by car (to Louisville). You might say I am crazy for flying 911 miles to Northwestern and driving 669 miles to Louisville, but the camaraderie, the coaching and the overall experience I have had at the Midwest practice sessions has been one of my favorite parts of my college career. I have made so many new friends over the years, and been able to reconnect with high school friends and club teammates that play at other Midwest schools like Iowa, Northwestern, Indiana and many others. One of my dear friends from home, Katie Jones who is a field hockey goalie at Iowa, has played Rush Soccer Club and Saints Field Hockey Club with me and funny enough was my high school rival too. I have known her for 10 years now and High Performance allows us to reconnect, play the game we love and continue to make each other better (she is a goalie and I am a forward so you could say we definitely challenge each other).
The Young Women’s National Championship is a five-day event filled with elite field hockey. So on the first day, Monday, we met our new teammates and coaches for Team Freedom, followed with a team practice and a scrimmage to prepare for the week ahead. This year’s team that I was a part of came together so quickly, faster than teams in the past, and it left us with an encouraging and exciting feeling after Monday’s training. Tuesday, our first game was against the current U-21 National Team and after only a day together we were giving them a hard fight with even statistics throughout the game. However we fell short 2-0 to them, but we were very proud of how well we came together in less than 24 hours against an organized team. Wednesday was the exact same storyline up against the U.S. Women’s National Developmental Team, which caught much attention towards the team I was a part of. The next two days we were victorious wins against Team Eagles and in the crossover pool Team White. The game against Team White, on the last day, ended in overtime shootouts, which happened because we were tied at the end of regulation. What an exciting way to end the week!
I have done the Young Women’s National Championship for three years in a row now and my goal is to encourage my teammates and future Buckeyes to participate in this elite level experience. I have met so many people along the way and have learned so much from coaches and other players involved. It is really cool to see so many players from their respective schools come to this tournament to represent their school, and I hope for the future we have more players representing our school. In order for our program, under new head coach Jarred Martin and assistants Homero Pardi and Kate Lipton, to go to the next level I encourage others to jump on board to represent The Ohio State University Buckeyes at a national level.