West Long Branch: The Shore Regional Field Hockey senior class parents in conjunction with Shore Regional Athletics hosted the annual Field Hockey awards banquet at Branches in West Long Branch this past Sunday afternoon.
Prior to the awards, the young ladies from all three teams gathered in the lobby to both socialize and look at action shot pictures taken from this past season. There they could see first-hand how they look on the field as they play the sport they have grown to love.
Coach Nancy Williams took time to introduce each player, one-by-one, on each team. After the rosters were called, girls from all three teams took time to commend the program, the coaches, and the experience that is Shore Regional Field Hockey. All three groups talked of the importance of: unity, pride, family, dedication, development, attitude, and team building.
Following the introductions, Coach spent several minutes talking about the importance of the role of Title Nine and the impact it had on female athletics. Though it has been a “long battle,” fighting for women’s athletics rights has provided young ladies the “opportunity to play college athletics” something that was harder, if not impossible, during the first ten years of her coaching career. Additionally, Title Nine has increased the number of female student athletes from 30 thousand thirty years ago to almost 200 thousand female student athletes today.
Coach Williams wrapped up her “motivational” speech by stating that this program has a “huge target” on their back and it is very, very difficult and unheard of to win the Shore Conference Tournament 14 years in a row. With her guidance, leadership, intensity, and integrity, this program is clearly the team to beat year in and year out. Clearly Williams takes pride that her program is well respected.
“Letters” and “Pins” to honor the girls that made Varsity were handed out by Williams. She took the time to acknowledge each girl and talk about her strengths and even added her expectations for next season. She also honored the senior class in a similar fashion and took the time to talk about how each girl impacted the team, the program, the sport, and in some respects the competition throughout the rest of the league.
Individual awards were given to: Shannon Johnson (MVP), Katie Aitkens and Michaela Curtis (DEF MVP), Carrol Middough (OFF MVP), Bailey Bestle (Academic Award), Kara Casale (Coaches Award), Gina Jelliff (Team Award), Morgan Jones (Pam Segner Award), Gina Ruscil (Most Improved).
This banquet is just one of the many team, family, and community-building events that the Shore Field Hockey team does throughout the year. Events like these help to galvanize the players - past, present, and future - while building memories that last a lifetime.