Tag Archives: intercollegiate sports

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!

Joe Meyer

Joe Meyer,
Senior, Electrical Engineering

Athens, OH 23 October 2017

One sport I did not know anything about this year is Field Hockey. Even after attending multiple games this semester, I still don’t know all of the rules. It might be more accurate to call it “Xtreme Golf” instead of field hockey, due to the following factors: color of the field, the way the club/stick is swung, length of the field compared to a par 3 golf course, size of the goal compared to a golf hole, and the height the ball was hit at normally for each swing.

Since I was a huge fan of the game the first time I went, I made sure to attend the rest of the home games. My favorite game I went to was with my roommate Jake. Before the game two of the players gave us their spirited shirts that were pink and showed the field hockey team’s support for breast cancer awareness.

The last game I went to this year at home I saw their first win, and that was one of my favorite memories of this year.

Field Hockey

How I Became Part of the Bobcat Family

Illona Hartman

Illona Hartman,
Junior, Civil Engineering

Athens, OH 14 October 2017

On a Monday morning in September 2012, a 17-year old Dutch High School student decided to improve her English grade. She failed a couple of her English reading and listening exams. For this reason, she watched American TV shows like Pretty Little Liars to improve her English listening skills. Her grade still did not change much, but her love for America grew.

During this period, she became aware of American college sports and the way athletics opens up a world of opportunities because of scholarships for student athletes. Nevertheless, this Dutch field hockey player stopped dreaming about America because she was insecure about her abilities as an athlete.

This 17-year old, insecure girl was me about 5 years ago. Nowadays, I am like a butterfly that came out of its Dutch cocoon. A lot of things have happened and changed since that one Monday in 2012. I graduated High School with one C (English…) and I decided to take a year off to work on my languages. I was also denied by my med school in the Netherlands which made me doubt my decision to become a doctor. I always wanted to help people by studying medicine, but this childhood dream changed after my gap year and journey through Southern Africa.

In 2014, I traveled to South-Africa, Swaziland, and Mozambique to volunteer at a Neighborhood Care Point for vulnerable children. During this 6-week teaching assistant job, I also partially-funded a construction project which made me realize one does not necessarily need to be a doctor to help others. I helped with the building process and I designed some murals to decorate the school. On top of that, I had the honor to paint them myself, so I saw with my own eyes how much it was appreciated by the community. This made me change my opinion by 180 degrees: I wanted to study engineering instead of medicine.

That Summer in 2014, I applied for a major called “Bouwkunde”—a combination of structural engineering and architecture— at Eindhoven University of Engineering and Technology. I got accepted and I started my next chapter of life as an engineering student in the Netherlands. It was a tremendous university with sophisticated students and teachers but ever since I started traveling I wanted more than the tiny Dutch cities surrounded by flat farmland.

In the meantime, I was playing field hockey on the second-highest level in the Netherlands which opened up some opportunities in the United States of America. Since my English skills were still below average by the time 2015 came around, I started to look into some transfer options to continue my studies in an English speaking country. This was when my “American Dream” appeared once again. The 17 year old High Schooler was now a confident 20 year old young adult ready for the next step in her life.

After a roller coaster of field hockey recruiting events, recorded games, Skype conversations, and loads of paperwork I finally got my American visa to continue my academics and athletics at Ohio University in Fall 2015.

It was a huge step for me to transfer to an American university but I am extremely happy that I did. Choosing Ohio University was quite a risk because I did not visit America before let alone Athens, Ohio. Nevertheless, the conversations I had with my head coach, teammates, engineering teachers, and even current students on top of the beautiful Google Maps pictures made my heart race.

The pain of discipline is far less than the pain of regret.” —Sarah Bombell

I always say I rather try than regret not trying at all, which brought me to Athens this time and who knows what is next. Overall, this is my journey to Ohio University and now I will help you find your journey back hOUme.

Ohio Soccer Alumni Weekend

Mollie Whitacre

Mollie Whitacre,
Senior, Computer Science

Athens, OH 25 September 2017

This past weekend was Alumni Weekend for all of the Ohio Women’s Soccer Alumni. The weekend consisted of two games from the current team and they were opening up their Mid-American Conference play, as well as getting to catch up with the alumni. I consider myself an Ohio Soccer Alumna because I no longer play on the team due to exhausted eligibility, but I am yet to graduate college.

Friday was the start to the weekend and that is when the first conference game was played. They took on Eastern Michigan on their home turf. Recently for our program, it has been difficult to beat both Eastern Michigan and Central Michigan, the opponent they played on Sunday.

On Friday, there was 36 seconds left in the match with Ohio tailing 1-0, when they scored and made it 1-1! The crowd erupted because now they got a chance to win in overtime. Well, overtime did not last long due to an Ohio goal by my roommate about thirty seconds in! Once, again the crowd erupted, except this time the game was over.

Sunday’s game was where they honored the alumni, so the crowd was larger than Friday. There was a special ceremony at halftime to honor the past players and coaches who were in attendance. The team ended on a high note this weekend with dominating Central Michigan 3-0. It was a very cool weekend to experience, both as a soccer alumna and also still a part of the team.

This is also the first time in a while that the program has started off with two wins! I am very excited to keep watching their progress as the season continues.

New Beginnings

Mollie Whitacre

Mollie Whitacre,
Senior, Computer Science

Athens, OH 30 October 2016

I’ve had soccer to look forward to nearly every weekend of my life since I was five years old. That all changed after this past weekend.

The soccer team had to win the last three games of the season to make it to the tournament and we won all, but the last. It was a heartbreaking way to finish a career: losing in overtime with five seconds left.

Soccer was my identity up until two days ago. My new task moving forward is to surround myself with activities and people that will help create my new identity. I have free time for the first time in my four years here at Ohio University.

I am excited to search for more clubs and services that I find interesting. One thing that I came across is the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA). I am also interested in learning more about the Association of Computing Machinery (ACM). Both of these organizations are in fields that I enjoy learning more about and hopefully one day can contribute to them.

A chapter of my life may have been closed, but I am ready to turn the page and step foot into something bigger and better.