Wolfe surfacing as one of area's top field hockey players

October 04, 1993|By Katherine Dunn | Katherine Dunn,Staff Writer

Katrina Wolfe spends her spare time these days playing field hockey on the Centennial gym floor.

She's not searching for an indoor league -- just a good video to sell her skills to college coaches.

With the Eagles' grass field too uneven to showcase the stick skills of a finesse player like Wolfe, she headed inside. The gym floor better simulates the quick turf on which the top college teams play.

"I love turf," said Wolfe, a senior All-County link. "It makes the game so much faster and I can use my speed."

That combination of speed and stick skills along with a knowledge of the game that few high schools players possess made Wolfe the only non-senior field player on last fall's All-County team. Now, it's just a matter of marketing those skills to the college coaches with scholarships to hand out.

Centennial coach Gail Purcell has no doubt Wolfe can play in a top Division I program. She knew it the first time she saw Wolfe with a stick in her hand.

"When Katrina took the field, she was clearly head and shoulders above anyone I've ever had in my program," said Purcell. "She had the finesse and ball control that you see in private-school kids who have had a lot of experience on a good field. It was clear from the start she was going to be a blue-chipper."

In fact, Wolfe might have more experience than any other Howard County player. She first learned the game in the sixth grade while her family lived in England.

"I was just athletic and they don't offer a lot of sports there for girls," said Wolfe.

When she arrived at Centennial, Wolfe missed out on her freshman season, because she did not know she had to try out before school started.

As a sophomore, however, she fit right in on the varsity. On grass the game was actually slower than it had been on the all-weather, gravel-like surface she had played on in England. Before she arrived at Centennial, Wolfe had played on a grass field only a couple of times.

However, Wolfe has played on turf at summer camps and in the United States Field Hockey Association's Futures Program last spring.

She earned a scholarship from the Baltimore Field Hockey Association to attend the Merstead Field Hockey Camp at Ursinus College in Pennsylvania. She earned all-star status at the Competitors Edge camp at Rutgers University in New Jersey.

Now, Wolfe faces a new role with her Centennial team, a squad that shows plenty of promise despite it being a rebuilding season.

As one of only two returning seniors, Wolfe now sees her role as a leader off the field as well as on.

Sometimes, she struggles to find the right balance of guidance and encouragement.

"A lot of times I get frustrated and I hate to be like that," said Wolfe. "I always tell them when I yell I'm not trying to be

mean -- I just want to get them fired up. We really do need to get focused. A lot of them are so quiet."

The Eagles have gotten off to a good start, going 3-1-1, including a 5-0 romp over Howard on Thursday.

Wolfe, who hopes to improve her scoring stats this season, contributed an assist while Abbey Forbes and Chantal Loomis had two goals each and Allison Altcher had one.

As a midfielder, however, Wolfe needs a strong all-around game. A natural athlete, she almost single-handedly can spark her own offense or stifle the opposition's attack.

"At midfield, you have to be able to play offense and defense," said Wolfe, who also plays midfield in lacrosse. "I have more of an offensive mind, but I've played sweeper and I can play defense. I don't really mind where I'm playing."

Purcell said Wolfe's skills keep getting stronger, but that her increasing confidence might be even more important.

"Katrina takes the field like she's the best player out there, and that's very hard to teach," said Purcell. "When she takes the field, she has a presence."

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