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Eagle seniors give verbals to Division One schools
By: KAITLAN MITCHELL Review Correspondent, Staff Writer
After a brisk set of high knees to the 25-yard mark, the Cocalico field hockey team methodically gathers in the middle of the field.
Here, a few key words are extended from the senior class to create a current of electricity throughout the team before practice. Then, with all hands thrown into the huddle, their chant of "intensity" echoes across the field.
And for three Cocalico seniors, intensity has been a strong theme they have kept steady since their freshmen year. A motif Janelle High, Allie Stauffer and Carissa Witmer are sure to bring with them once they depart from high school and to the collegiate field.
Their extensive resume flows from winning section titles three years in-a-row to contributing to the Lady Eagles’ Pennsylvania State finals appearance in 2010. There is no doubt this senior class has a solid background to grow upon as they enter three different Division One university programs.
"Those three are basically what is left over from two very successful seasons," Cocalico head field hockey coach Krista Page said. "They are the core we’re building around. We put them in strategic positions to help build the team during the season."
High, daughter of Joan and Curtis High, will be attending Lehigh University in Bethlehem next year. After verbally committing in the beginning of May, the Cocalico midfielder will be one of the newest additions in the Mountain Hawks’ roster. High’s intended field of study is either accounting or engineering.
"Not only am I excited to play for Lehigh, but I’m really excited for the academic side of college as well," High says. "I’m ready to be competitive in all aspects of school."
High won’t be the only new face on the pitch next fall. With the start of the 2012 season, head coach Stacey Blue will commence her second year with Lehigh.
"The coach is new and looking to turn the program around," High says. "She’s bringing a new style of hockey and I think it’ll be fun to be a part of growing a program."
Stauffer, daughter of Wendy and Travis Stauffer, committed to Towson University in March of her junior year. Stauffer will be adding to Towson’s defensive line-up. She intends on majoring in exercise science and has plans of attending graduate school to fulfill her desired occupation as a physical therapist.
Eager to travel to Towson, MD and play at the collegiate level, the Tigers’ program was an ideal fit for Stauffer.
"It’s a smaller squad where I’ll hopefully be getting more playing time," Stauffer says. "The coach created a very close team and that’s something I look forward to becoming a part of."
Passing words of wisdom on to those seeking to propel their field hockey skills to the next level, Stauffer reminds high school players to be relentless.
"Keep working hard and never stop challenging yourself to be better," Stauffer says. "It’s important to be coachable."
Witmer, daughter of Teresa and Todd Witmer, will be attending Hofstra University in the fall of 2013. After finalizing her commitment in late April, the midfielder will claim the Village of Hempstead, New York, about 25 miles east of New York City, as her new home. Making a jump from the Eagles’ nest to a lions’ den, the Hofstra field hockey Pride is led by head coach Kathy De Angelis. Witmer plans on majoring in kinesiology and exercise science.
The recruiting process can be tedious work. There’s the Festival Tournament, club teams, junior days and editing countless hours of game film to send to colleges for a highlight DVD. Alone, this can be an overwhelming experience.
Thankfully, bright pink shoes blazed the trail for Witmer. Noted for their standout cleat attire and their dynamic stick skills, Witmer’s cousins and former Cocalico field hockey alumni, Katie and Courtney Ueberroth are accredited with an assist – guiding Witmer in her post-high school decision.
"Coach Page and Coach (Matt) Soto (from Witmer’s Penn Lanco club team) also helped me throughout this process," Witmer says. "My family and my coaches made this decision much easier."
It is this type of encouragement and support that will continue to follow the seniors into the next level of field hockey. Right now High, Stauffer and Witmer look to capitalize in their final high school season this fall but they are eager to apply their acquired skill set and game knowledge from their soon-to-be alma mater to their college of choice.
"We wish all three of the girls the best of luck as they head off to compete at the Division One level," Page says. More VERBALS, page B-4