Pinckney Community Schools’ first-ever field hockey season is in full swing with a brand new girls’ varsity team formed by the district this fall.
The sport was added in response to interest expressed in the community and results of a survey showing the potential to engage a number of girls who would otherwise not be participating in a fall sport.
Currently, the 24-member team coached by Alison Wink and Jeff Hamilton is still in pursuit of its first win. However, that doesn’t discourage the coaches or their players.
“Field hockey is a complex sport to learn and the girls have not been at it that long,” said head coach Wink. “This is a sport that challenges players at every level, which is one of the draws. It is a game of speed, strength and strategy with many detailed rules that can take a while to learn. Our players have shown nothing but hard work, positive attitudes, and drive to learn more.”
The coaches are proud of the team’s dedication. So is Brian Wardlow, athletic director at Pinckney Community Schools.
“These girls are competitors, no doubt about that,” said Wardlow, “but they understand they just started and they have to put in the extra work to compete with the teams that are much more experienced. It is not easy to show up at every match being the underdog but they do so with a smile on their faces and perform at their best level in the name of sportsmanship,” he said. “Their progress thus far is amazing.”
Wink became involved in field hockey when her daughter Gabbie, who now plays District 1 college field hockey, began playing eight years ago as a fifth grader. Wink kept stats for the Chelsea High School team for five years and spent countless hours on the field learning the game. She has been involved in program and player development since 2013.
Assistant coach Jeff Hamilton brings to the team years of experience developing and coaching players in Ann Arbor and supervising field hockey officials.
In addition to coaching from Wink and Hamilton, the team has received training from a player on Chelsea’s team as well as support from the Dexter program.
After six optional training sessions led by Wink’s daughter in July, the Pinckney girls began practicing as a team in mid-August. Wink says the team is young and that this is a first experience playing team sports for some of the girls.
“We’re still working to unfold plays and tactics to move the ball down the field as well as build defensive skills,” said Wink, “but the girls have held their own and demonstrated knowledge and skill in how to play the game in just a short time.”
Pinckney will host games against Clarkston on Sept. 28 and Gabriel-Richard on Oct. 5. Both games start at 7 p.m. They play at Dexter on Oct. 12 at 5:30 p.m. and host their final game of the season at home against Forest Hills on Oct. 18 at 6:15 pm.
For additional information, contact Alison Wink at (810) 923-1214, or Brian Wardlow at (810) 225-5525.