Field hockey: new teams and new titles


Ava Kayser

Making a pass down the field, senior and varsity midfielder Carly Anderson strikes the ball past a Clayton defender. Anderson has played varsity all four years of high school. “I am really excited about this season,” Anderson said. “We started out a lot stronger than usual and we’re determined to finish out the season that same way.”

From the first day of fall sports tryouts, the field hockey program has been breaking traditions. With more than 50 players, the program formed three teams and welcomed their first Pool Championship in the Gateway Classic Tournament in program history.

Head coach Dawn Callahan attributes the great energy and successes to the fact that the varsity team is made up of mostly seniors.

“I think we came in more prepared this year and ready to start right from the get-go instead of playing catch up. For the varsity squad, we only lost one player and everyone that’s on the team either swung and played varsity and JV last year or they were on varsity, so it helps,” Callahan said. “We don’t have to teach the system, we don’t have to teach corners, everything is just ready to go from the get-go.”

After coaching field hockey for 22 years, this is the first time Callahan has fielded a C-team. 

“Finding practice space is a little bit trickier, but I think it just adds more competitiveness, having three levels, plus it gives the players that are coming in new to this sport an opportunity to get more playing time than if we just had two teams,” Callahan said. “Plus we would have to cut people and cutting people is not fun.”

Four years ago, current seniors on the team started a Junior Longhorns program for field hockey at the middle school. 

“We’re getting younger and younger kids getting involved in the sport earlier,” Callahan said. “We practice after spring break through the middle of May so it gives kids a chance to get a stick in their hand in the middle school before they get into high school.”

I’m looking forward to a fun season and maybe setting some records at West,”

— Head coach Dawn Callahan

Freshman and JV player Sam Hipp participated in Junior Longhorns throughout middle school and remembers it fondly as she plays at the high school level.

“Winning our first game [in Junior Longhorns] was a really good memory because everybody was so happy,” Hipp said. “This year, getting to know everyone on the JV team has been really fun too. We all know each other really well, get along well and have fun working together.”

Senior Callie Hummel started playing field hockey freshman year and is grateful for the friendships she has made within the team. 

“We’re kind of a weird team, we have about ten seniors and we’re all really good friends so we are all just really weird together,” Hummel said. “We play a lot of teams who will start yelling at each other but we are all really positive. When someone messes up, you know they’re beating themselves up in their head, so we’re like ‘it’s alright, you’ll get it next time.’”

In early October, the varsity team will be traveling to Kansas City for the first time to play new teams and gain more playing time.

“The big [goals] are to just improve every day, compete for the whole 60 minutes or 50 minutes or 40 minutes, whatever level there is, and have fun,” Callahan said. 

With the growth of this program and the intensity of the sport increasing, Callahan has a positive outlook towards the rest of this season. 

“We recently lost 2-1 to Laffeyete. When I first got here, we lost seven to nothing [to them],” Callahan said. “I’m looking forward to a fun season and maybe setting some records at West.”