Varsity Field Hockey

Name: Kimmy Hilson

Hometown: Baltimore, MD

Major: Psychology

Minor: Entrepreneurship and Management

Year: Class of 2014

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When I was a freshman in high school, I decided to make it my goal to play field hockey in college. I’d played since 6th grade and loved every minute of it. My original “goal” was to play at a division 1 school, with Duke, Yale, and Richmond at the top of my list. It wasn’t until the spring of my junior year that I started thinking seriously about some division 3 schools, and I am definitely glad that I did. Playing on a Division 3 team has allowed me to participate in more extracurriculars outside of field hockey, many of which I might not have the time to do had I pursued playing Division 1. Here’s a little “timeline” that shows how I turned my dream into a reality.

Spring 2009: I sent my first email to coach, telling her I was interested in playing field hockey at Hopkins :) She responded, sending me an online questionnaire to fill out that included information about my experience playing field hockey as well as my academic history. I told her that my club team would be entering a tournament at Hopkins, and that I’d love for her to watch me play. I’m a Baltimorean, so it was convenient for her to see me play. If you’re not local, consider sending her a DVD with some of your field hockey footage.

Summer 2009: I registered to attend the field hockey camp hosted at Hopkins over the summer. That was an awesome experience; we got to stay in the dorms, eat at Nolan’s and play on Homewood field! If you are looking at playing any sport at any school, I would definitely suggest that you attend a camp at the university that you’re looking at if they have one. Not only is it a good chance for you to spend some time on the campus, you also get a chance to get to know the coaching staff and some current players!

Late Summer/Early Fall 2009: I followed up with Coach Fraser and told her that Hopkins was my first choice, and that I planned to apply early decision. She told me that if I was accepted, I would have a spot on the team. Because field hockey at Hopkins is a division 3 sport, a coach cannot guarantee you admission before you apply, unlike many division 1 sports.

Fall 2009: My senior season of high school field hockey started, and I continued to keep coach updated about how we were doing. I also came to a few home games at Homewood to cheer on the Blue Jays! Towards the end of October, I submitted my early decision application to Hopkins!

December 15, 2009: I got the email from JHU that I’d been accepted! YAY!

Winter 2010: Coach emailed me and my new classmates with some information, including details about housing, roommates, and gear. All of the freshmen typically live together, which was a fun and easy way for us to get to know each other.

Spring 2010: The six of us were invited to come spend the night on campus during Spring Fair weekend, and watch the team play in a play day the next morning. We were able to spend time with the team during a team dinner the night before and get to know each other.

Summer 2010: The workouts began. We had an extensive summer training program that was hard to get used to at first (I’d never spent that much time in a gym before!), but it put us all in great shape. I also played in a summer league to keep up my field hockey skills and keep in “field hockey shape.”

August 2010: Preseason started around the middle of August, and I started to get a little nervous. We typically had between two and three practices per day (one in the morning and one in the afternoon/evening). On the third night of preseason, we had the fitness test, which consisted of different drills that we had been practicing over the summer. Most of it was timed running, mostly sprints, but some longer distances, too.

I have now survived two preseasons and two seasons. Our field hockey season starts with preseason in August, with our last game typically around the second week of November (depending on how well we do in our conference tournament and if NCAAs are in our future). We play other schools in the Centennial Conference, including Muhlenberg, Franklin and Marshall, Swarthmore, and Dickinson. To find out more about the Centennial Conference, check out www.centennial.org. For the most part, about half of our games are away and half are home. I’ve planned my schedule for the past two falls to make sure that I don’t have to miss any class, but the professors here are typically understanding (even more so if you give them sufficient notice). We practice typically 5 or 6 days of the week for about 2 hours each practice. This is a pretty significant time commitment, but I love it because it helps me balance my time wisely. Once the “regular season” is over in November, we are off until around March when we start our 6 week long spring season, which is mainly focused on individual skill development. During this time, we typically practice twice a week or so, which also includes some lifting sessions with our trainer. It is definitely advisable to stay in shape during the winter so you’re ready for the spring.

If you got accepted to Hopkins not thinking too much about playing field hockey (or any sport), no worries! There is still hope for you. In the past two years that I’ve been on the team, we’ve had 3 walk-ons join the team during the spring after contacting coach, letting her know of their interest in joining the team. You’d practice with us, train with us, and at the end of the spring season, coach would let you know if you made the team. You might think that it’s difficult joining a team of girls who have already played with each other, but we’re all very warm and welcoming to newcomers on our team :)

All in all, varsity field hockey is an amazing experience, and if you have the opportunity, definitely jump on it and embrace the opportunity that you’ve been given.  Being on the field hockey team has definitely been a great experience, and has definitely played a part in shaping my college career.