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The Yankee Express

Heidi Jarosz field hockey novice to All Star

By Christopher Tremblay 
Staff Sports Writer

Shepherd Hill Regional High School’s Heidi Jarosz is a stud three-sport athlete that provides an athletic presence and dominance on the fields according to Athletic Director James Scanlon. The Shepherd Hill senior participates in softball, basketball, and field hockey and although softball is her go to sport, she loves taking part in field hockey for the fun of the sport.
 “I’ve been playing basketball and softball for a while but didn’t get into field hockey until my freshman year in high school,” Jarosz said. “My mom, aunt and older sister all played and having watched and played with my sister I thought that I’d give it a try. I was looking for something to do for fun and field hockey seemed to fit right in.”
The senior center-midfielder enjoys the teamwork that’s involved with the field hockey team as well as the skills that come with the sport, something that leaves room for improvement. Although she is not one to say she is perfect her coaches think she is pretty close to it.
 “She is one of those individuals that every coach wants on their team; she is very coachable and reliable,” ex-Shepherd Hill Field Hockey Coach Vanessa Kent said. “She is always looking to do good and is continuously asking how she can improve her game.”
This year’s coach, Kate Dunn, noted that she only had contact with Jarosz during her freshman campaign, but noted that she dominated when on the field and her ability was only going to get better through the years.
Taking on field hockey her freshman year saw its troubles with the pandemic, but the first-year athlete decided to use it to her advantage.
 “My freshman year was difficult as it was the Covid Year; we were wearing masks and honestly I basically knew nothing about the sport,” she said. “It was definitely a slow process, so I just sat back and watched the upper classmen while I learned.”
In addition to watching her teammates and absorbing everything that she could about the actual game, Jarosz was also working on making her stick skills better. The now senior noted that she was not very good back then and watched a lot of videos while watching the older girls until she had them down. 
 “It was a lot of work, and I probably didn’t put everything together until last year,” Jarosz said. “Coach Ken was a big help in teaching me a lot and getting me to where I am today.”
As a freshman, who didn’t see all that much action her first season Coach Kent did see a spark when she did take to the field. According to the ex-Ram Coach, Jarosz originally played forward, but being one of the team’s strongest individuals that possessed a pure athletic ability she decided to move her to center-mid where she flourished and controlled the play across the field.
 “You could see her confidence growing over the years and played every single game over her sophomore and junior years for us,” Kent said.
Although named to the All-Star squad last fall, Jarosz and her teammates have never ventured into the post-season, something that she would like to accomplish but doesn’t see it in the cards for this season. 
 “We’ve seen our share of tough seasons (record-wise),” she said. “I don’t think that the field hockey team is as good as the basketball or softball teams is because there is not a lot of people in volved with playing. We only have one or two club players, while basketball and softball there are many, a lot of the girls play field hockey for fun.”
Having a new coach this fall as well as the returners and some girls moving up from the eighth grade the team should be better, but Jarosz sees it as a bridge year.
 “I definitely think that it is going to be a rebuilding year, but having a middle school team now will allow the girls coming into the high school to know the game as well as already having been playing it,” Jarosz said. “As a captain I want to continue to contribute to the team in whatever way that I can, while having a fun year. I want this team to play with good sportsmanship no matter how tough the games are.”
Incoming coach Dunn sees Jarosz has a key to the team’s success. 
 “As a center mid-fielder, she has a birds eye view of the field, which will allow her to call thing out; she seems to be three plays ahead of the game,” Dunn said. “I am looking for her to provide a voice on the field; she has an amazing drive as a center-midfielder and will be just as valuable as a scorer.”
Field hockey may be a sport that Jarosz plays just for fun, and the record really doesn’t matter, but it would be nice to advance into the state tournament for the first time before she leaves Shepherd Hill behind. However, while that may not be possible, the senior is hoping that she can help the younger girls improve their game in any way that she can.