Schroeder is Bears' triple threat Field hockey: Hammond's Mandy Schroeder also excels in lacrosse and dance and is sorting out which to focus on in college.

September 24, 1998|By Stan Rappaport | Stan Rappaport,SUN STAFF

Mandy Schroeder always enjoyed playing field hockey, but it was lacrosse that touched her heart. Until now.

"This year has been so exciting," said the Hammond senior. "The team has come together so much; it's been a really fun year. We're all very positive, and that gives us a whole new outlook on the season."

And so far, the season has gone very well. At 3-0-1, the Golden Bears are the only public high school field hockey team unbeaten in Howard County.

"We have a lot of skill, and I think playing together for all these years has brought us together," said Schroeder, one of eight senior starters. "This year, I just see a whole new team."

And a team that Schroeder believes can compete for county and regional titles.

"I think we have the ability to do it this year," Schroeder said.

Hammond's first big test of the season comes tomorrow when the Bears travel to two-time defending county champ Mount Hebron.

"We know it's going to be a tough game, but I think we're ready for it," said Schroeder, whose team lost 1-0 to the Vikings last year. "We're going to give them a good game."

Schroeder, a three-year varsity starter in both field hockey and lacrosse, always has had excellent speed. In her last year of field hockey, she has become a better skilled and more aggressive player and credits much of her improvement to the team.

"The team has gotten better, and they've helped me get better," said Schroeder, an attack player who is Hammond's leading scorer with five goals and three assists. Gay Petrlik, who coaches field hockey and lacrosse, said Schroeder "is one of the better athletes I've had in my 15 years at Hammond. She's also a good leader and student."

Schroeder also is an accomplished dancer. And she attributes much of her athletic success to her years of studying many dance forms -- tap, jazz, ballet, point and lyrical.

"Dancing has definitely made me a better athlete," said Schroeder, who has been dancing for 12 years. "It teaches you coordination and balance and builds a lot of muscles that you need."

Schroeder studied at Backstage Dance Studio through her freshman year. For the last three years, she has made the Hammond Dance Company and this year is the captain.

Schroeder is mentoring for Brooke Kuhl-McCulland's class as part of the independent research program.

"I'm pretty much her assistant the first half of the year, and I'm learning how to teach a class and how to choreograph dances," Schroeder said. "In the second half, I'm actually going to take the class myself and teach them a dance for the recital at the end of the year."

Schroeder plans to continue dancing in college.

Schroeder enjoys dance and sports equally but says nothing matches winning a game.

"Dance is a whole different feeling. You don't get that victory pTC feeling," she said. "Dance is a lot of work, and you can tell what you've worked on all year has paid off, but you don't get that rush. Sports is a definite rush."

Schroeder wants to continue her athletic career in college. Now, it's just a question of what sport. Or will it be sports.

"I think she was really focusing on lacrosse, and I keep trying to convince her that I feel she is as strong in hockey, if not stronger, and that she needs to consider that," Petrlik said. "A dual athlete I mean they're golden. And I keep trying to tell her to feature herself as a dual athlete."

Schroeder is considering it.

"I'm thinking about it. I'm not set on playing both yet, but I'm definitely keeping my options open," said Schroeder. "I had my mind set on lacrosse to begin with, but now I'm leaning a lot more toward field hockey, also. I guess whichever season you're in you tend to like that sport more, but I definitely enjoy playing both sports and would like to play both in college if I could."

Petrlik is not looking forward to losing a person like Schroeder.

"Mandy has always been a very caring human being," Petrlik said. "She's the first one with a kind word about anyone.

"I wish I could clone her and have five or six more coming next year. I'll miss the leadership, the play, the kindness and the fun. She's a lot of fun."

Pub Date: 9/24/98

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