By DAVE THOMAS | Mission Times Courier
Being that this is her last year of scholastic field hockey, Patrick Henry High senior forward Dani Nowicki hopes to put together a stellar season for the Lady Patriots.
According to head coach Ken Hasselbar, Nowicki has proven to be an integral part of the growth of the program over the last four seasons.
“She has been a member of the varsity roster all four years and getting to watch her develop into the player she is now has been amazing,” Hasselbar commented. “This year as a senior captain, she has taken on the responsibility of mentoring the younger players. I can’t imagine where this program would be without her in it.”
Hasselbar was also quick to point out what he wants to see as this season continues to unfold.
“I would love to see Dani become the face of our program,” Hasselbar continued. “Being a senior leader on the field and off the field is a role that Dani is made for. Watching her come into her own and take the reins is something that every coach dreams about. You know that you have done your job as a coach when your players no longer need you to tell them what to do.”
The Mission Times Courier recently caught up with Nowicki for an email interview:
How old were you when you began playing field hockey and what got you interested in the sport?
I began playing field hockey at 14, the summer before freshmen year was the first time I had ever picked up a stick. A family friend of mine was a junior and playing the sport and she convinced me to play. I am glad I joined.
How have you seen the program grow over your time there?
I came into the program the first year we were in Division I. The players were just coming off a CIF Division II win, and we had a difficult schedule ahead of us. We struggled for sure, but it has been amazing the last few years. We even made open division playoffs one year. This program has grown a lot over the past years, and I am proud to be a part of this team.
Being this is your senior year, what are you looking to accomplish?
I am looking to have fun with my girls. I love my team so much, and it is difficult to image time without them. I want us to play hard and make many memories this year, on and off the field.
Besides field hockey, what else are you involved in at school? Any plans to go to college next year and also play field hockey?
I am on the lacrosse team, and I help lead Helping the Homeless club at school. The colleges I am applying to do not have a field hockey club, but I would love to start it wherever I end up. I am going to college, but it all depends on where I get in.
What advice would you have for any young girls thinking of coming out for the field hockey team next season?
Advice I would give to girls who are thinking about coming out to play, is to not be discouraged. It is a difficult sport at first, but once you get the hang of it, it is one of the best sports to play. Also, it is amazing being able to come into high school and already have a team full of friends to greet you on your first day. High school can be intimidating, but when you are part of a team, it makes life a lot easier. Go to tryouts and try because you may turn out to love it. You never know unless you try.
— Dave Thomas is a freelance sports writer. If you are a varsity fall sports coach at Patrick Henry High and have an athlete you think would make a good feature story, email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.