Co-ed Field Hockey is a Fall Sports Alternative for Student Athletes
TURNERS FALLS, MA – When the fall rolls around, thoughts of high school sports automatically turn to football.
But Franklin County Technical School’s varsity field hockey team is another outlet for students to compete on the field. A couple of area high school field hockey teams have folded this year, but the tech school’s team is coed, with three boys on a team of 17, which increases participation.
“Being a coed team allows us to compete,” said head coach Amber Crochier. “For a lot of kids, playing field hockey is a new sport. My 9th graders haven’t played it before.”
Crochier, who played field hockey when she was a Franklin County Tech student, has been coaching the team for five years. The team has eight seniors this year, led by senior co-captains Ashlee Townsley and Kailynn Mason-Emond.
The beginning of the team’s 14 game schedule was against independent teams, and the competition was tough. The competition got a little more balanced when the team played schools in their own league.
“One of our strengths as a team is after a game we can break down where we struggled and we can address those issues,” Crochier said.
Between 2-3 new students join the team every year, but since the majority of players are seniors, Crochier said she’ll have to recruit more than that next year.
“It’s easier to get sophomores, juniors and seniors to join the program,” Crochier said. “A lot of freshmen come from programs that take the fun out of it, so it can be hard to get them to join our program.”
Crochier said morale on the team is better than at some other schools, because no one gets cut from the team. She also rewards hard work.
“If someone shows up at practice and put in the work, they’ll play,” she said. “We give everyone the opportunity to play. Playing field hockey is an opportunity to be part of a team and you have to work together as a group.”
Crochier thought adding boys to the team might disrupt the dynamic, but they’ve fit right in.
“I like this group,” she said. “They’re a good group of individuals and they balance each other out. Some kids are quiet, others are outgoing. They’re all very different people, and they’re not afraid to express themselves.”