Eager for return to UM

Q&A Susie Giampalmo, Glenelg, Field Hockey

October 10, 2007|By Glenn Graham | Glenn Graham,Sun reporter

Glenelg senior midfielder Susie Giampalmo doesn't hesitate when asked what she wants to get out of her last season of high school field hockey: another chance to play on the turf at the University of Maryland, College Park.

Last season, the Gladiators reached the state championship game, falling to Hereford. This season, the Gladiators (8-3) went into the week with eight straight wins to appear primed for another state title run.

Giampalmo, a team captain and member of the Futures Program, has played a big role as the steadying influence in the middle, helping out the team's inexperienced defense with excellent sticks skills, sure tackles and positive words. She began playing field hockey just before her freshman year and is a three-year varsity player, starting the past two seasons.

Giampalmo maintains a 4.0 grade point average and is a National Honor Society executive board member.

She is undecided on a college but plans to study medicine. Along with playing field hockey, she is a member of the school's dance company.

What has been your best moment in field hockey?

I'd say last year's county championship - it was intense. [Centennial] scored a goal a few seconds into the game, and it was kind of on a questionable call because there was a debate whether it was a goal or not. But we didn't let that get us down, and it turned out to be a back-and-forth game. It was the second time we played them that season - the first time we lost to them in overtime on our field during the regular season. So now, we were playing them on their field in the county championship, and we were like: "OK, they scored, but we're going to stay up and give it our all." And we came back and won the game in overtime, 3-2.

What did you take from last year's experience in the state title game?

I think we'll be more ready to adapt our play to playing on [University of Maryland's] turf field. The ball moves a lot faster, and you can control the ball easier, in a sense. But then you also need to be careful to not overhandle the ball and let it get too far away from you. Having gone through all the stress and pressure of playing under the lights, the University of Maryland, state final game - we've already been through that, so if we can get back there, we can keep our heads together and concentrate on what we need to do and go out and do it.I would love to go back there and win.

What do you do to get pumped up before a game?

We have a little dance thing we do and a little chant we do. It's kind of our superstition this year because every time we've done it, we've won. It looks a little ridiculous to watch, but it's fun. Then we always do our cheer in the circle, and I'm actually the one that's screaming. My voice is rather frightening.

How important is having that kind of fun camaraderie with the team?

I think it's a huge part of it. We're tight. We have team bonding - parties, going out to dinner, watching movies, decorating T-shirts. We get along, and we trust each other on the field. You always know that someone has your back, and you don't have to be afraid to dribble up a little farther than you would because you know your teammates have you covered. We don't have any selfish players, no players that are out there for themselves thinking: "I want to score this goal to look good." The scoreboard reflects the entire team.

How much have you enjoyed being in the dance company?

My little sister [Christina] is in the same dance company with me. It's the only class I've ever had with her. She's a sophomore this year. So it's been fun. I get to tease her and push her around a little bit, but we help each other out.

Who is the one person you most look up to?

I'd have to say my dad. He's just someone that has always been there for us, and he's always telling us that we need to have our priorities straight. He does a lot for us and makes sacrifices for us. It doesn't have to be an amazing sports player or someone like that. My dad always does the right thing, and he's always there for me, so I want to always be there for him.

When was the last time you couldn't stop laughing?

That happens to me all the time. I'm always laughing. On the bus ride there today, we started putting eye black on our faces, and we were trying to take pictures, and the bus was moving all around so the marker was going everywhere. So before the game, we're on the bus taking ridiculous pictures of ourselves. It was fun.

glenn.graham@baltsun.com

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