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Field Hockey

Alumni and families returned to campus on October 13 to celebrate Generations of Excellence in Norfolk Academy Field Hockey.

An array of TCIS and LIS championships and four VISAA state titles are evidence of the program’s legacy of success. But as speaker after speaker noted during the celebration, the program is about much more than victories and titles. It's about developing and championing young women who are multifaceted individuals, dedicated students, resilient competitors, loyal teammates, and thoughtful contributors to the school and greater community.

Field Hockey has been part of Norfolk Academy’s athletic program since the earliest years of the modern, co-educational school. In 1966, when Norfolk Academy and the Country Day School for Girls merged and moved to Wesleyan Drive, then-P.E. teacher Jean Boyd McIntyre introduced Field Hockey as one of three fall sports for girls. Enthusiasm for the sport was so strong that Norfolk Academy formed a Varsity team the following year. Dedicated teacher-coaches Karen Doxey, Lynn Ridinger, and current Head Varsity Coach Mary Werkheiser galvanized the program, bringing expertise and an emphasis on each player’s value to the team. The addition of a national-caliber field hockey field in 2015 elevated the game.

Lily Clarkson '18, a state champion at NA in 2014, 2016, and 2017, went on to play at the University of Pennsylvania. She remains close with many of her teammates and reminisced with them before the celebration. What they remember, she said, is the journey of each season, from bonding activities in August through bus rides and practices and games together in November.  

“This program taught me how to win but most importantly it taught me how to play for the love of the game," Clarkson said.

Trustee Michelle Bass Adams '91, who played for NA and has a daughter, Lizzie Adams, on the current team, opened the ceremony by thanking the many alumni who returned. Merrick McCabe '98, another former field hockey standout who is now Alumni Board President, gave closing remarks. 

Before the ceremony, Norfolk Academy earned an impressive 7-1 win over Collegiate, another perennial state title contender. Coach Werkheiser called it “one of the best field hockey games I've ever seen played on this turf" and said the girls dedicated their impressive effort to all the program alumni, many who came back for the festive occasion.

The program is successful because of the dedication of the student-athletes and coaches, Werkheiser said.

“I thank you from the bottom of my heart."

Teacher-coach Mary Werkheiser has guided the field hockey program to four VISAA state titles. 

Teacher-coach Mary Werkheiser has guided the field hockey program to four VISAA state titles. 

However, as Lily Clarkson '18 said at a celebration on October 13, the program teaches about so much more than winning.

However, as Lily Clarkson '18 said at a celebration on October 13, the program teaches about so much more than winning.

Head of School Travis Larrabee congratulates varsity field hockey players after they beat Collegiate on October 13.

Head of School Travis Larrabee congratulates varsity field hockey players after they beat Collegiate on October 13.

Celebrating Generations of Field Hockey Excellence at Homecoming.

Celebrating Generations of Field Hockey Excellence at Homecoming.

Both current players and alumni walked across the football field at halftime of the Homecoming game on October 13.

Both current players and alumni walked across the football field at halftime of the Homecoming game on October 13.

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