Boutilier, Burdt earn recognition

January 23, 1994|By Katherine Dunn | Katherine Dunn,Staff Writer

For Roland Park senior Peggy Boutilier and St. Paul's graduate Tricia Burdt, being the Baltimore area's top high school field hockey players was just the beginning.

The two 18-year-olds have emerged among the best young players in the nation with their selection to the United States Field Hockey Association's under-21 team earlier this month.

They tried out for the team during the USFHA's A Camp conducted the week after Christmas at Rutgers University in New Brunswick, N.J.

Boutilier, The Baltimore Sun's All-Metro Player of the Year last fall, is one of just two high school players selected to the 16-member team.

Burdt, the All-Metro Player of the Year in 1992, has moved on to the University of Maryland. The Mount Airy resident started for about half the season and helped the Terrapins win the NCAA championship last fall.

This year's under-21 squad, however, exists pretty much on paper only, because no competition is scheduled.

Beth Vasta, director of national teams for the USFHA in Colorado Springs, said the current emphasis is on the national team that will play for the World Cup in Ireland in July.

However, she added, the USFHA has committed to the development of younger players, adding an under-18 team for the first time. International competition for the under-21 squad should begin in 1995.

"The goal is to develop a strong base of players with international experience," said Vasta. "With the under-18, the under-21 and the national training squad, which is right below the national team, we've got much more depth in the United States than we've had in the past."

Before their selection, Boutilier and Burdt had experienced national-level competition. Both played in last summer's Olympic Festival in San Antonio.

In her third Olympic Festival appearance, Burdt played on the gold-medal winning team that beat Boutilier's squad in the championship.

"It was fun, because I was used to her beating me all the time," said Burdt. "It's exciting for us, because we went to rival schools, so we always talk about those days. Now it's just fun to go to the same places and do everything together."

The one perk of their selection to the under-21 team is a chance to play in the 1994 Olympic Festival in St. Louis.

Even though Boutilier and Burdt said their games have improved over the past year, both know they must keep striving if they plan to stay nationally competitive. The USFHA makes new selections every year, and no one returns automatically.

Next year, there will be even more incentive to make the team because of the international competition. Neither Boutilier nor Burdt wants to miss that.

"It's exciting to make the team, but a lot of people want to be there," said Boutilier, who will play next fall at Virginia.

"A lot of people who were selected for the Olympic Festival didn't make it this year. They know what they're missing, so they're going to work extra hard to get it back. I have to keep working, because I want to make it again next year."

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