CRANFORD FEMALE ATHLETE OF THE MONTH

Madeline Garcia, varsity field hockey player

What is your favorite part of field hockey?
When you make a play down the field. It requires a lot of people, starting from the defense and all the way up to the forwards, working together for a common goal. It teammates supporting one another to make something happen each person pushing one another to work harder. When the chemistry works and you end up scoring or even making an incredible play the team is brought together.

In what way has the sport benefited you?
The sport has given me structure in my life. It forces me to work hard and be dedicated. It has instilled in me a strong work ethic and taught me how to set goals and achieve them. I have an incredible club coach, Victor Ochieng, who has never lost faith in me and has taught me how to be confident in myself and my abilities. He has helped me immensely to grow as a player and as a young adult.

What is your biggest challenge in field hockey?
The skills themselves. I am not a natural-born field hockey player and have to put in a lot of work to master even one skill. But I have the heart and desire to continually improve and do better that has made me the player I am. So even though I may lack the natural ability that others have my desire to play and grow as a player has allowed to me to go far in the sport.

How do you get ready for a field hockey game?
I really like to spend some time before the game getting in the right mindset, whether it’s on the bus to the game or at home, before I leave. I will listen to some pump-up songs and set some goals for the game. Then, while warming up with my team, I like to try and keep the energy high. I believe, if you warm up strong and intense, you will play that way. Getting everyone else pumped up also helps me feel excited for the game. After we set up on the field, I like to take those 30 seconds to close my eyes, slow my breathing and prepare myself to accomplish my personal goals.

What are some goals you wish to accomplish before the season ends?
To win our first states game. We have grown immensely as a program over the past two years and I really believe we are capable of going even further this year. We have one of the best goalies in our division who, paired with our incredible defense, has really been so strong this year. If we focus on working on our offensive movement over the next week, I believe we will be able to go very far in states.

Who are your favorite professional athletes?
Peyton Manning. I respect him a lot as an athlete, as well as a person. I watched a video of him once, where all of his coaches and fellow athletes talked about him in high regard. He had, at one point, written them all letters thanking them. They kept these letters and read them in awe of the man he is. They spoke of him out of respect, which is how I hope to be remembered, not only as an athlete but as a person. His teammates adored him and he carried his team, no matter what. I hope that I am able to be both the athlete and person he is.

What other hobbies do you have?
Field hockey takes up a lot of time. Not only do I play high school, but I play club as well, which means I’m practicing seven days a week and twice on Sunday. I even play on the off season and I train for fitness more during that time. But when I do have a free movement, I really enjoy baking. My mom has always been a great baker and chef. She has taught me a lot and I really love getting to bake with her and spend time in the kitchen.

What are your plans after high school?
After high school, I will be going to college at Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C. There, I hope to get a major in biology and a minor in Spanish, while also playing on their field hockey team. I committed to the team last spring and am looking forward to four amazing years there.

What is your favorite subject in school?
I love all my science and medical classes, which I have taken through the high school. They have helped to assure me that I want to go into the medical field. But my favorite subject for sure has been art. It’s a great
way for me to relax during my stressful schedule and
get to use my creative side.

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