Written for The Argo by Kylie Mitchell
Student-athletes had a unique experience with the pandemic. They felt the backlash like most students, between classes shutting down or going all online to mask-wearing and even struggling mentally, then our practices and seasons canceled. On the Stockton Field Hockey team, there were two seniors, Gracee Roberts a defensive midfielder, and Corinn Guilford a forward, who took the season off to focus on their own struggles amongst the pandemic. For Stockton’s Field Hockey, three core values center the team every day: fitness, passion, and integrity. These values help drive student-athletes on and off the field in their success. Whether it be a 14-4 record in the 2019 season, or five players receiving the NFHCA Scholar of Distinction with cumulative GPAs of 3.90 or higher in the Fall of 2020, our coach helps us to embody these ideals every day. These girls truly represent how highly we hold these values, but specifically integrity on the Stockton Field Hockey team.
A decision like this doesn’t come easy and took much thought from both girls. They didn’t make this decision to leave solely for themselves. Instead, it was in the best interest of the team.
Roberts explained that she made the decision, “because COVID really took a toll on me financially. I finally was able to get a job.”
She continued, “I do regret not playing last season, but I had to do what was best for me and it would not have been fair for my teammates if I was not able to give everything into playing”. Since they felt their integrity wasn’t fully there, both girls are committed to giving it her all this season and it shows on and off the field.
Not only is this a team, but a family of blossoms of lifelong friendships. With an atmosphere that Roberts described as, “very welcoming and free. I remember just being able to talk to every girl on my team in a way that made me feel comfortable.” They don’t take the friendships they made for granted, instead, they use each other as a support system to work harder and push themselves each and every day. With an incoming freshman class of nine, along with two sophomores from the previous year, they had a lot of love welcoming them back on the field as well.
With regular-season play coming to an end, the team wishes to make the most out of what they have left. As a senior, Roberts “just wants to have fun and take in the last few games and make it a time to remember”. These girls have been playing this sport their whole lives and with the end encroaching, these two superstars know what the true meaning of a team is and are ready to give it their all! You can follow our school’s Field Hockey team on Instagram @Stocktonfieldhockey !