FIELD HOCKEY PLAYER OFF TO U.S. SCHOOL

Cur­rently at EDSS, Morgan Han­ley has been re­cruited by Vir­ginia Com­mon­wealth Univer­sity for next year

The Woolwich Observer - - FRONT PAGE - VERONICA REINER

ELMIRA’S MORGAN HAN­LEY WILL be tak­ing her pas­sion for field hockey all the way to the United States next year af­ter she was scouted at a show­case com­pe­ti­tion.

The EDSS Grade 12 stu­dent earned her­self a spot at Vir­ginia Com­mon­wealth Univer­sity’s (VCU), a Na­tional Col­le­giate Ath­letic As­so­ci­a­tion (NCAA) Divi­sion 1 team. She’ll be at­tend­ing the univer­sity in 2019, ma­jor­ing in ex­er­cise science.

“I wouldn’t say I was ex­pect­ing it, but we were go­ing down to those show­cases in hopes that some­thing would come up – a big op­por­tu­nity for me in the States,” said Han­ley. “And that’s what hap­pened, so that was ex­cit­ing. All the hard work paid off.”

Han­ley’s in­ter­est in sports has been long­stand­ing and wide-rang­ing; she par­tic­i­pated in com­pet­i­tive gym­nas­tics, played bad- minton and ice hockey at EDSS, as well as ski­ing and snow­board­ing.

Her EDSS field hockey coach and for­mer teacher, Lisa Dou­glas, took note of her ath­letic abil­ity and lead­er­ship skills early on.

“She was our out­stand­ing ju­nior ath­lete in Grade 10,” said Dou­glas. “What makes her stand out isn’t just her ath­letic abil­ity; it’s her ded­i­ca­tion to the sport, her pos­i­tive at­ti­tude, her hard work, com­mit­ment, her lead­er­ship – she’s an amaz­ing leader as well.”

Her in­ter­est in field hockey came while she was deal­ing with a non-sports re­lated in­jury.

“I did com­pet­i­tive gym­nas­tics for eight years,” Han­ley ex­plained. “Then I had a bro­ken foot, and I just de­cided it was time for a lit­tle bit of a change, so I moved to field hockey. It was a good change; I love gym­nas­tics too – I still miss it to this day – but field hockey has been an amaz­ing jour­ney for me.”

Al­though Han­ley fo­cuses more on field hockey, both in­door and out­door, her in­ter­est in gym­nas­tics re­mains. She cur­rently ded­i­cates her time to coach­ing at the Wool­wich Gym­nas­tics Club.

“She switched her pas­sion from com­pet­ing in gym­nas­tics to coach­ing gym­nas­tics,” said Tina Han­ley, Morgan’s mother. “Which she still does, just took on a dif­fer­ent role in the gym­nas­tics club. So rather than com­pet­ing, she tried to help with coach­ing.”

She also joined the KW Dragons field hockey team in Water­loo, which gave her the op­por­tu­nity to travel far for com­pe­ti­tions. Her in­ter­est in field hockey ramped up af­ter a trip to Toronto.

“Then we went to a tour­na­ment called May Melt­down in Toronto one year,” said Han­ley. “And my eyes were opened to a whole new world of field hockey.”

Fol­low­ing a camp in Kitch­ener-Water­loo, she joined the A&C Field Hockey Academy based in Bramp­ton.

“She was an amaz­ing leader for our field hockey team and helped raise the game of other play­ers around her al­ways in a pos­i­tive way,” said Dou­glas of Han­ley’s field hockey abil­ity. “She had ex­cel­lent in­put in game-play sit­u­a­tions on strate­gies; just a plea­sure to coach. She’s one of those ath­letes that’s been a plea­sure to coach all the way through from Grade 9 to now.”

Han­ley also par­tic­i­pated on Team On­tario and had re­ceived a gold and bronze medal with her team af­ter com­pet­ing in the Cana­dian na­tional cham­pi­onships.

“She grew her love for field hockey the more she played and was ex­posed to dif­fer­ent op­por­tu­ni­ties,” said Tina Han­ley. “It’s just such an ex­cit­ing world out there.

“We’re very proud of her. And thank­ful for the new op­por­tu­nity.”

[VERONICA REINER / THE OB­SERVER]

Elmira’s Morgan Han­ley, prac­tic­ing this week at RIM Park, has been re­cruited to play field hockey at Vir­ginia Com­mon­wealth Univer­sity, where she’ll ma­jor in ex­er­cise science next fall.

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