A field hockey club team, based out of West Hartford, had a successful experience in the Nutmeg State Games despite being older than most of the other players and not having a goalie.
By Ronni Newton
The expectations of the players on the CT Club Field Hockey team for winning were not particularly high heading into the Nutmeg State Games competition at Veterans Memorial Stadium in New Britain, where they were one of nine teams in the Open Division, also known as the 19 and Over Division.
The team only had 10 players on the roster for the 7-versus-7 tournament – none of whom was a goalie – and they were up against teams that were stacked with college players and recent graduates. Most of the CT Club Field Hockey team members are over 30.
But on Sunday, July 18, after compiling a record of 2-0-1, scoring a total of eight goals and allowing just one, the underdog CT Club Field Hockey Club earned a spot in the gold medal game. Although they lost 4-2 to Skillz That Killz, a team from New York, they were thrilled with the tournament experience.
“I will never forget this day of playing field hockey with my teammates,” said Cathy Callahan, who runs the CT Field Hockey Club program for women through West Hartford Leisure Services.
“This was an incredible experience, and a life dream for all of us,” Callahan said. “We worked hard, played together and never gave up. We were focused and all had the same goal. Every minute was a dream come true and we look forward to playing again next year.”
They scored the first goal within the first 30 seconds of the first game.
Callahan, who was previously the head field hockey coach at West Hartford’s Conard High School, said most of the players who signed on for the Nutmeg State Games were participants in her women’s program, which practices on Sunday mornings at 7:45 a.m. in the spring and fall.
Participants in that program must be at least 30 years old. “I did this so that women who were graduated from college and working felt comfortable coming out to play,” she said.
“The women in my group are comprised of former college field hockey players who are moms, doctors, nurses, lawyers, teachers, coaches, recreation coordinators, and athletic directors. All of us have a competitive spirit and still enjoy playing field hockey at a high level,” Callahan said.
There were about 15 women who joined the program this spring.
“We typically just scrimmage each other, but when we heard that Nutmeg State Games were back this summer we wanted to give it a chance,” she said. Eight of the players from the spring program said yes.
Callahan said she created the CT Club Field Hockey pinnies about 10 years ago, hoping to form a club team after college. Competing in the Nutmeg State Games with the team fulfilled that dream.
The team included Callahan, Jade Dennett, Kati Eggert, Veronica Grubin, Colleen Kinkade, Austin Lamothe, Lindsey Leung, Basia MariaRozalia Szajda, Melissa Twibell, and Sara Witmer.
Callahan said she will hold the women’s field hockey program again this fall, and will drop the age requirement to 25 in order to attract even more participants. Registration for the program (# 412555A) will be available through the Leisure Services RecDesk.