A closer look at W-L’s field hockey team

W-L field hockey team on practice, play and college recruitment


Photo courtesy of the W-L field hockey team

Melina Axelrad takes the offensive

Senior Clara Grimmelbein runs across the field, dribbling the ball, the loud cheering of her teammates as she runs down with full control of the ball. As she runs down the field, her teammates run to post, getting Gribbelbein’s cover. She taps the ball, one, two, three, and drives it in. 

Grimmelbein is a senior at the school and plays on the varsity field hockey team. She  has been playing field hockey since eighth grade, and has been on the varsity team since she was a sophomore. In games, Grimmelbein plays midfield, which is a position that requires running, and controlling of the ball. Midfield positions roam the field and are used to link the defense with offense. Grimmelbein said  she is “definitely not a fan [of the position], because of all the running,  but I play where my coach puts me.”

As for her coach, teacher Ms. Beth Pranne, Grimmelbein loves her. 

“Shoutout to Beth Pragne,” Grimmelbein said. “Best field hockey coach in WL history, Love her.”

  “I love Pragne, she is so funny, and she’s very relaxed and very encouraging as a coach,” Grimmelbein said. “Whenever someone makes a small mistake, or does something wrong, she takes it lightly and is really cool about it.”

Another member of  the team, senior Mary Superata, also has been playing since eighth grade. 

“My coaches have been great ever since I began back in eighth grade,” Superata said. “Our head coach Prange has now been my coach for the past three  years and before that coached my older sister for two years. Knowing each other for that long makes for a good dynamic both on and off the field,” said Superata. 

To Grimmelbein, having a coach that makes the players happy to be there is important.  Their practices are filled with learning new strategies and having fun together. What differentiates this year’s field hockey team from previous years is the team atmosphere.

 “This is definitely my favorite team that I’ve been on at W-L,” Grimmelbein said. “We are all very close , and have similar senses of humor. We do a lot of team bonding and bring each other together. Everyone’s personality is different and we all fit into each other.”

Athletically, Grimmelbein really admires her teammates, and their effort as a team.  

“Everyone on the team has a lot of potential, effort, and willingness to put in the work, which I don’t think was always there in the previous years,” Grimmelbein said.

 “This season has been a great experience.  My favorite memory from the season was all of the relay races we would do at practices and tryouts,”  junior Joey Scogna, who is also on the team, said.

According to Grimmelbein, the team is closer than other years, and practices are enjoyable. 

“We are always gaining towards the future, and how to prepare for certain games. Usually there are a lot of varieties within our practices, we scrimmage a lot, 1v1, or play fun games. I really look forward to practice, because I get to see all my friends, and it is very social. It doesn’t feel like I’m there to play a sport, it feels like I’m there to see my friends,” said Grimmelbein.

For Grimmelbein, the most exciting part about playing field hockey is when anyone does anything good, and everyone cheers that person on.

 “Whenever someone has a small success, the reward of that across the team is definitely the best part,” Grimmelbein  said. “Playing on this team has made me more compassionate towards others. When I first started playing sports, I  was very focused on myself  and not as much as the team, but being on a very close team has definitely made me kinder than others and made me realize how to celebrate other people’s successes, and not just my own.”

Grimmelbein will not be continuing field hockey in college as lacrosse is her main sport, but is open to coaching the sport later down the road. 

For anyone wanting to try out for field hockey, Grimmelbein shared some tips:  

“No one really knows what they’re doing in the tryouts, give your best effort out, no one’s as good as you think they are, everybody’s on the same playing field,” Grimmelbein said.

While many enjoyed practices, they came at a cost for some. 

“One downside of the season was the time commitment that came with it. I often found myself staying up very late to get homework done after games,” said Scogna.

Being a student athlete allows students to connect with their school. Oftentimes, student athletes are seen as more academically concerned and engaged with the school community. Typically, the school’s field hockey team has done well. 

“This year we went 12-8, so I’m pretty happy to finish up with a majority win,” Superata said. “We made it all the way to the district tournament but couldn’t quite pull off the win and ended up taking 2nd place. Right after that, we entered a regional tournament where we faced Oakton. It wasn’t necessarily a picture perfect finish, with our last game being a loss in overtime it was a pretty abrupt finish. I would have loved to make it farther into regionals, with it being my last season and all, [but] I’d rather spend my time focusing on the positives than wishing for a different outcome. It was another great year, with great teammates and great memories and I’m missing it already. I’m excited to come back and cheer on the team next year before heading off to whatever’s next.”