Alex Gorry, a sophomore, doesn’t know anyone who plays field hockey at Northwood. In fact, one person she asked thought it was played on roller skates.
Field hockey is played on grass, without skates, and is popular throughout the world. Schools like Cardinal Gibbons, East Chapel Hill High School and Carborro High School have field hockey teams, but in Chatham County, no schools have an official team.
Gorry has attended an after school program ever since elementary school and first played field hockey there. She actually hated it. Six years ago, however, Gorry’s babysitter, who was the head coach for the Carborro Recreation team, got her interested in the sport.
“Something just clicked,” Gorry said. “I knew I would be doing this for as long as I possibly could.”
Last year, Gorry was selected to be on a Junior Olympic team. There are Junior Olympic teams in each district of the state and hers is called the Carolina All-Stars. In addition, she plays on a club team in Chapel Hill called the Tar Devils because they practice on both UNC’s and Duke’s fields.
Her Junior Olympic team is a top-ranked team in the nation. Recently, Gorry’s team traveled down to Florida for the Disney Field Hockey Showcase. The semifinal game came down to strokes, field hockey’s equivalent to penalty shots.
“My team elected me to go up and take the shot. It was to win and I made it, so we went to the championship,” said Gorry.
The Carolina All-Stars placed second out of roughly a hundred teams.
Being on a club team means Gorry travels a lot, which can take up a lot of time. She has been to places such as Florida, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Maryland, Arizona and California for field hockey games. She practices seven to eight hours on weekends and has after school practices as well. Some weekends she attends camps where she has to get up at 6 a.m. and practice for 11 hours a day.
At her former high school, Cardinal Gibbons, Gorry played on the school team, as well as the Junior Olympic team and the Tar Devils.
“The more I can play it, the better I’ll be,” said Gorry.
Gorry hopes to go from grass to turf and play college-level field hockey. College scouts observe players at big tournaments similar to the one in Florida, which had over 100 colleges watching. The scouts can’t talk to athletes until their junior year, but they can still watch. Gorry hopes to attend either Stanford, Colombia, Georgetown or Princeton.
— By Anna LaRocco Masi