Is Texas Field Hockey's New Frontier?

Add to this the fact that the Chairman of the Board of Directors of USA Field Hockey, Shawn Hindy, has made his new home in Texas. Hindy, you may remember, won a state title against Selinsgrove a few years back before going to the college ranks. Also, Clarence Jennelle, a long-time youth field hockey coach who has been with Pottstown Owen J. Roberts (Pa.) for the past 13 years, has moved down to Texas to be on the staff of Texas Pride.

This confluence of talented coaches and their players could very well have the effect that the likes of Bill Tierney, Casey Powell, Jen Adams, and Cathy Reese have had in Colorado on the game of lacrosse.

Don’t think so? Well, there’s a rising senior at Houston St. John’s (Tex.) named Kelsey Bing, who is committed to Stanford and is part of the youth high-performance program with USA Field Hockey. If you have a chance to watch her play, do so. She may be the start of something big.

The last few years in terms of national tournaments, there’s one unusual name that keeps on cropping up on the winner’s dais: the Texas Pride.

Despite the fact that only 14 secondary schools have the sport, Tina Edmonds, the former Maryland star, has done a tremendous job of shaping and molding a program that gets kids as young as seven years of age to get into the sport.

Texas, the largest of the contiguous U.S. states, has a population of some 26.6 million people. It is a number projected to double by 2050. As such, it is an enormous untapped market for field hockey as well as other athletic pursuits.

Greg Gephart saw this kind of potential when he was coaching in Oklahoma and in Houston in the 1980s. After his untimely death in 1996, friends started annual field hockey camps in Texas and brought a number of prominent U.S. and foreign coaches to teach youngsters the game.

The caliber of coaches has been ramping up for some time. Coaching in the Southern Prep Conference is Jackie Ciconte, the Maryland alumnus who once scored the game-winning goal in an NCAA final. Also coaching is Christy Utter and Xan Funk from the University of North Carolina. In addition, Claire Lawhon Pierce, a Wake Forest graduate, is coaching down in the SPC, as well as Michigan graduate Alicia Mayer, part of the awesome Selinsgrove (Pa.) programs of the late 2000s.

Written by Al Mattei from TopOfTheCircle.com

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