Naylor tends goal of college save

September 12, 1993|By Katherine Dunn | Katherine Dunn,Staff Writer

Field hockey could be Kelly Naylor's ticket to a better environment.

And it all stems from the Great Lunch Tray Dispute.

Working with the Grass Roots Coalition in Columbia, Naylor and other environmentally conscious Oakland Mills students have tried to force their schools to abandon throw-away Styrofoam lunch trays in favor of reusable plastic ones.

So far, the students have lost. But Naylor, a senior and president of the Oakland Mills Student Government Association, doesn't plan to give up -- even if it takes years to get her point across.

"If you want to really make a change then you need to have the education and the knowledge to be respected for what you're saying," said Naylor, who plans to study chemical engineering.

"It was a very unfortunate situation that they had engineers from the Polystyrene Council of America, which is Styrofoam, come in and dispute what a 17-year-old girl had looked up in libraries and collected research. I'm thinking, 'Fine, if you're not going to listen to me, then I'm gonna get a good education, get a degree and find out. Then you'll hear from me again.' "

That's where field hockey comes in.

Last fall's first-team All-Metro goalie, Naylor has drawn the attention of college coaches from all over the country, including Stanford and Harvard. Her talent combined with a 4.0 grade-point average and her diverse interests makes Naylor an attractive prospect to college coaches.

Attending Stanford or Harvard would be a dream, said Naylor, and getting a degree from either certainly would fuel her battle with those in the non-reusing, non-recycling world.

Still like many students today, Naylor said she couldn't afford the tuition at a top university without a scholarship.

So she has worked hard on her hockey skills.

Reigning as the Baltimore area's best hasn't been enough for Naylor. She plays club hockey with the Washington Wolves, a team that includes several other All-Metro players.

Selected to participate in the U.S. Field Hockey Association's Futures Program, Naylor spent one weekend a month from January through May at the University of Maryland under the watchful eyes of some top coaches.

Working with Jon O'Haire, former men's national team goalie, Naylor picked up plenty of tips.

She was happy to listen.

"Just to be able to have coaching from someone who really knows the position was great," said Naylor.

"He's played around the world in all the tournaments. To be able to have him say, 'You need to step a little more with your back leg because that's why the ball's popping up,' or something like that is such a difference from being in situations where people don't know really what to say to a goalie.

"It's very difficult for a coach who's a field player. I mean I don't think I could coach field players. I wouldn't know the first thing to tell them."

The coaching in Futures as well as the opportunity to play all year-round with the Wolves has sharpened Naylor's skills and eliminated the nerves she used to feel before games.

She's more comfortable in the cage now.

Confidence, however, is something Naylor never has lacked in hockey -- or anything else.

From the time she started playing ice hockey with boys when she was 7 years old, Naylor has figured she could do anything she wanted.

Being the only girl on a team never bothered her as she played ice hockey and boys lacrosse. She hasn't met resistance from the boys or the coaches probably because she always has been able to hold her own on the field or on the ice.

In the winter, she still plays ice hockey and is the only girl on the Oakland Mills High club team.

"It makes me realize all of the gender roles are just way off. I wasn't like the Bionic Woman that I did this. I just had parents who cared enough to encourage me to do what I wanted," she said.

"I wish that they had more coed sports because it would give people more respect for others who work hard and try to achieve."

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