Field hockey seniors plan to stay in touch

Cora Reyes-Castelloe, Staff Writer

It was late, and it was dark, but inside Westview’s stadium, the energy was bright and tireless. Parents, siblings, friends, even neighbors, ignored the chill and cheered on girls field hockey. 

On the front rail of the stands, glossy photos, homemade posters, and black and gold balloons shone under the stadium lights. 

It was senior night, and the last regular season game of the year. For nine field hockey players, this was the end of their run on the team, aside from CIFs. 

When the buzzer blared at the end of the fourth quarter, the players jogged off the field, reconvened briefly, and then turned their attention to the stands. The spectators were descending, with smiles, hugs, flowers, and congratulations. While the underclassmen began clearing off the field, the seniors mingled with each other. 

Four years of blood, sweat, and tears, four years of shenanigans, growth, and inside jokes had drawn to a close. 

Senior night marked the end of an era for the nine seniors, who constitute half of the 18-player team. Many of field hockey’s seniors have played for Westview since freshman year and they quickly form a natural family. 

Bella Santos (12), who joined freshman year, believes that their closeness stems from their dedication to the sport and each other. Santos’ first experience with the Westview field hockey program was a summer camp for incoming freshmen looking to join the team. Santos was instantly drawn to not only the sport, with its fast pace and complexity, but the people she met at camp. Everyone was welcoming, and the team had natural chemistry on the field. 

“My favorite thing about field hockey is my teammates, and I love how they always show up to practice, to games,” Santos said. “Our energy and determination this season and our team dynamic really make it a fun experience.”

For many of the seniors, field hockey has been 2 hour practices every day after school, as well as weekly games against other schools, for four years. Such adamant dedication has paid off in every aspect of their lives, on and off the field. 

According to Cameron Casey (12) the team feels more confident, communicates with ease, and can maneuver through a chaotic game without breaking a sweat.

“There’s a lot of running, and a lot of yelling, but through the years we’ve all gotten so much stronger,” Casey said. “It’s been cool to see the growth.”

The seniors have utilized their expertise to support those around them, as well. One of their main focus points has been to ensure that the team transitions smoothly next year after losing half its roster. 

In preparation for next year, the seniors have prioritized training their non-senior teammates to keep the team strong and prepared for the next season after they graduate. 

Paige Kumler (11) says that the seniors have taken every step and opportunity to ensure that the team will have experienced leadership next year in their stead.

“[The seniors] have pulled some younger girls for games and practices, which showed them what it’s like to be on varsity,” Kumler said. “All of the juniors have been taught by the seniors drills, management, and communication, so we feel confident.”

Despite feeling assured about next year’s prospects, Kumler said that the seniors’ absence will undoubtedly be felt.

“Having to say goodbye will be hard,” Kumler said. “I still have time with them during the school year, but I just can’t imagine playing without them next year.”

Farenc said that it will undoubtedly become far more difficult to remain close to their teammates in the whirlwind of senior year, and especially once each of them go their separate ways in the spring. Nevertheless, the seniors are determined not to let their field hockey family become a thing of the past through maintaining connections during off-season and beyond.

“I absolutely plan to stay in touch with all of my teammates,” said Casey. “They’ve been so important to me, and we plan to find ways to be together after field hockey, and after high school.”

Whether in person, over text, once a day or once a month, one thing is clear to the seniors as their last year of field hockey comes to an end: their time on the team may be over, but their time with each other is not.