Chicks with Sticks

Illona Hartman

Illona Hartman,
Junior, Civil Engineering

Athens, OH 18 November 2017

My home country, the Netherlands, is very well known for its sports such as soccer and field hockey. Unfortunately, Dutch sports are not affiliated with universities like in American sports. At home, we represent a sports club and not a high school or university. For this reason, it is challenging for Dutch students to excel athletically as well as academically.

Combining sports and academics at the same place sounded ideal for me. When I became aware of this big part of the American college life, I decided to look into transferring to an American university. Now I am happy to say I am living the American dream thanks to Ohio University’s Field Hockey (OUFH) program as well as the Russ College of Engineering and Technology.

Ohio University Field Hockey

I made the decision to transfer in the summer of 2015 and I immediately felt at home while wandering around the beautiful green campus of Ohio University. Playing a college sport is very beneficial for international students because we automatically gain 20+ sisters.

Over the years, my teammates—as well as my engineering friends—have become my family away from home. It is very special to realize how sports brings people together and creates strong relationships which are not limited by international borders. For example, OUFH currently represents five nationalities to compete at the highest collegiate level in the United States of America.

Ohio University Field Hockey

When we come in as freshman field hockey players, we start our collegiate career during preseason in the summer. Preseason usually lasts about two weeks and consists of multiple practices. These practices can range from one a day up to three, each lasting about two or three hours. After we get used to playing together, we play one or two scrimmages before our season starts at the end of August.

Ohio University Field Hockey

During the season, we sometimes play three games a week. Normally, we play about eighteen games a season which consists of roughly ten or more away games. This means we get to travel a lot with the team! Traveling with the team has definitely been one of my best OU experiences so far and it contributes to our strong relationships. For example, we got to visit New York City my sophomore year and we traveled to North Carolina my junior year.

Ohio University Field Hockey

On top of the games, we also practice 4-5 times a week depending on our game schedule. In the past three years, we have always had Mondays off for our required day off. Then, we would have lifting from 7:30 am till 8:30 am on Tuesdays and Thursdays. In addition, we practice from 2:00 pm ill 5:00 pm Tuesday through Sunday—except for game days, of course.

Ohio University Field Hockey

Unfortunately, our 2017 season ended at the end of October and we are now lifting and running for up to eight hours a week max. I am really excited to start playing field hockey again this winter break at home and with the OUFH team in spring. Things will definitely be different because the Ohio Athletic Department recently hired a new head coach: Ali Johnstone. She is a former Bobcat standout and member of the Kermit Blosser Ohio Athletics Hall of Fame which makes me really excited about all new athletic challenges in the near future!

Ohio University Field Hockey

Go Bobcats!

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