Few high school athletes get a chance to move on and play their sport at the college level. Senior Annie VonderBrink, a four-year member of the Varsity Field Hockey team, is an exception. VonderBrink created her future by working hard at her sport.
How did you get to be so successful at field hockey?
I started playing field hockey when I was in 7th grade, so I’m going into my sixth year. My sister, Ellen, helps me a ton by practicing with me and showing me no sympathy to help me improve.
I’m also a part of USA Field Hockey Futures, which is a team that I tried out for but just practice with. I’ve been with the Futures for five years. At the end of the season, I’ll try out for the regional team, which consists of Ohio, Indiana, West Virginia, Michigan, Kentucky and Tennessee players. This past year was my first year making the regional team, which goes toVirginia Beach to play against other regions. I also play for a club team called the Coyotes based out of Columbus. I’ve been with the Coyotes for five years. We practice two to three times a week and play lots of tournaments. I also participated in the Heartland Field Hockey Club during my freshman year. I’ve done a lot of field hockey camps at OSU, OU, East Coast,Wittenberg and Gateway. I also do an indoor league in the winter.
The main reasons why I am successful are my sister, Ellen, my coach Steve Boniface, and my parents because of their support.
What’s your greatest accomplishment as a field hockey player?
My greatest accomplishment is gaining a scholarship to The Ohio State University to play field hockey. I am so lucky to have this opportunity at such a great school. My greatest field hockey accomplishment is winning nationals in Arizona. I went to Arizona with my summer club team, the Coyotes Field Hockey Club, over Thanksgiving break in 2010. We went undefeated in the whole tournament, and there were a lot of teams that came from around the nation. We won the tournament, and it felt so great to win and take pictures with my team in our first-place medals. I felt like a celebrity!
What did you do to get yourself out there to the college coaches?
I got noticed by colleges from the tournaments I went to and by emailing them my player profile and game schedule. I also went to the colleges’ summer camps. To younger players, I would encourage them to play as much field hockey as they can and to go to lots of tournaments to get noticed by the college coaches. If you get the opportunity to play in college, do it!
What’s your number, position, etc.?
School: 17; mid mostly, sometimes forward
Club: 12; forward/mid
Forwards are in the first line of players and they score the most goals. Mids are in the second line, and they assist and set up the plays for the forwards.
What do you do in the off-season to stay active?
I do indoor track in the winter to stay in shape and get stronger. I also do outdoor track in the spring, which I’ve done all four years of high school. I also swim for Crestwood Swim Club in the summer. I play lots of field hockey all the time, and I don’t really have an off-season because I start my club season as soon as my high school season loses in tournament.
Do you have a preference on field hockey sticks?
Right now I play with a Dita, and I also like TKs. Those two are my favorite.
What’s the hardest thing about playing field hockey?
I don’t think there is one thing that is the most difficult because all the concepts combine to make the sport hard. You need endurance, stick skills, speed and knowledge of your teammates’ positions.