Being from Maine, Kristy Bernatchez was an outsider. Still, the Messalonskee High School junior was part of what the USA Field Hockey website called “the top 102 female field hockey athletes in the country.”

Last week, Bernatchez and the other 101 players were at Old Dominion University in Virginia for training and film sessions. For her performance during the week, Bernatchez was one of 26 players named to the U17 Junior Women’s National team.

Players were invited to the week-long sessions because of their performance at Junior National Camp, and some of the 102 players also were selected to fill out the U19 and U21 national team. Bernatchez is the only player on the U17 roster from Maine, and one of only two from New England.

“It feels like I’m kind of representing the state,” Bernatchez said. “I feel like the Mainer on the team, like different from everyone else. Most of the girls are from Pennsylvania and New Jersey.”

The selected players will convene again in Chula Vista, Calif., in January. According to the website, each of the teams will play tours, with locations to be determined. One potential series for the U17 team, according to the site, is in Argentina.

“They said as long as you’re in shape and you’ve shown improvement since the last time they saw you, you’re most likely going to be on the team for the tours,” Bernatchez said.


Bernatchez said there were about 35 to 40 girls in her age group, and over the four days and three nights, they underwent “three two-hour sessions a day of intense training and breaking down video.”

The videos were of international play, giving the players the chance to learn international rules.

“We have a couple (international) videos at my house, but I’ve never seen it broken down by U.S. (national team) coaches,” Bernatchez said. “It was really different than I’ve ever seen before. It was so much faster, and everyone was so much stronger.”

When she arrived in Virginia last week, Bernatchez noticed that a lot of the other players had the chemistry that comes with playing together. But she overcame that well enough to earn a trip to California in the winter.

“I definitely was not the best one there,” she said. “But I tried hard the whole time, and used what I could do to my advantage.”

Matt DiFilippo — 861-9243

[email protected]

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