Wright's Jakum hooked on hockey

October 18, 1992|By Katherine Dunn | Katherine Dunn,Staff Writer

If Julie Jakum could build her field of dreams on her parents' farm, it would be a hockey field.

There's nothing the C. Milton Wright senior would rather do than play hockey. She may be the only girl in the county who has played since she was 12 years old.

With no youth program in the county, the first opportunity for girls to play field hockey comes in high school. But Jakum saw her first game in the sixth grade, and she has been hooked since.

On a trip to pick up her brother, Joshua, from soccer practice at C. Milton Wright, Jakum and her mother stopped to watch a field hockey game.

"I saw this strange game, and I just was fascinated," she said. "After a while, I turned to my mom and said that's going to be my sport in high school."

Now, Jakum is a Mustangs captain and one of the county's top players. A midfielder for the rebuilding Mustangs, Jakum is the catalyst of offense and defense.

The opposition has plenty of respect for her talents. In Wednesday's 3-1 defeat at Fallston, Jakum scored the Mustangs' only goal even though Cougars coach Alice Puckett had designed her game plan around the right link.

"Their assignment was to hit the ball away from Julie," said Puckett. "That's why we went down the left side all the time. She can hurt you on both sides, she's good on transition and she stops the ball very well. Julie is a very complete player. She

makes things click for them."

Aside from her ability, what sets Jakum apart from most of her peers is her obvious love for the game. Hockey is not just an after-school activity for her. The 16-year-old goes to clinics and // summer camps and plays summer league in Harford County and club ball with the Baltimore Field Hockey Club.

In 1991, she played on the gold-medal team at the AAU/USA Junior Olympics in Tallahassee, Fla. She has been accepted into the United States Field Hockey Association Futures Program, an Olympic development style program, for the third year.

Jakum has come a long way from the sixth-grader who couldn't find any place to play hockey. After she discovered the sport with her mother that fall day, she had to wait until the following summer to go to camp at Harford Community College.

For two years, the former gymnast played only at the camp, because there was no league for players so young. She learned the basics of the game, and by her freshman year, Jakum was ready to play for the Mustangs.

She spent one year on junior varsity before moving up to the varsity as a sophomore. Last year, Jakum helped the Mustangs to their first win over archrival Bel Air. That victory sent them to the state final four for the first time in school history.

Despite her busy hockey schedule, Jakum still has time for a tremendous load of school activities, including working on the school paper, The Pony Express; tutoring; student teaching German to elementary school children; and working on the Senior Class Council. A member of the National Honor Society, she carries a 3.9 grade-point average and scored 1,220 on her SATs.

Next fall, she hopes to study chemistry and play Division I field hockey. That load shouldn't be too much, because she's always busy.

Last summer, Jakum combined summer league hockey and working on the family farm with a full-time job at Aberdeen Proving Ground through the George Washington University Science and Engineering Apprenticeship Program. She conducted a site safety study and worked on several other scientific projects.

"I plan to go back next summer if I can," said Jakum. "It's a great experience to work with scientists. You learn so much. I think I would like to become a research chemist and maybe work for the government."

Even when she gets that job, Jakum hopes to still be playing hockey. Now, she plays with coaches and other women who have been out of college for a while in the Baltimore Field Hockey Club.

"I keep telling my mom, who says I can't play forever, that I plan to," she said. "I want to keep hockey alive. People think it's dying out and I don't want to let it. I love it too much."

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