Winthrop’s Maddie Perkins, who competed in the U16 Junior Olympics this summer, takes a warmup lap around the field hockey field with her teammates last Wednesday afternoon. Andree Kehn/Sun Journal Buy this Photo

WINTHROP — Maddie Perkins was off and running in her freshman season with Winthrop’s field hockey team last year.

The forward scored the Rambler’s first goal of the season en route to breaking the school record, as she finished the campaign with 27 goals and Winthrop went on to win the Class C state championship.

She finished with 39 points after adding 12 assists.

Her success on the field hockey field didn’t stop there, as she played with the Maine Majestix program out of Waterville in the high school offseason, to put her on the radar with USA Field Hockey. She was first invited to their U16 National Futures Championship in Lancaster, Pennsylvania at the end of June.

From there, she was one of the 75 players invited to the AAU Junior Olympics in Winston-Salem, North Carolina at the end of July.

“It was definitely a different experience than what I have been doing in my whole life,” Perkins said. “Everybody there was good. Everybody had something to share (about field hockey) with everybody else.”


The coaches at the camps were either college coaches or on the senior national team. She said she got a lot of positive feedback from the coaches down there on her play over the four-day event.

She was one of two Mainers at the U16 Junior Olympics, as Hannah McKenney of Norridgewock — who plays for Skowhegan — also attended.

Playing in the Junior Olympics has been a goal for Perkins the past few years.

“Probably three or four years ago I made it pretty far in like nationals,” Perkins said. “There’s different levels you go to. You first start off with futures, then you go to national futures, then you go to the Junior Olympics. A couple of years ago I did the same thing that I did this year, then I realized I could exactly go far if I keep working on it.”

For Winthrop coach Jess Merrill, the field hockey world was able to see what she already knew about Perkins, who had played with the high school team in the summer while she was in middle school.

“She was an unknown (last year),” Merrill said. “I knew. We knew she was coming because we had a strong, senior-laden team, she came out to a lot of people out of nowhere. We knew what we had going in with the skill level she had, and I think she has increased those skills this year with the level of coaching she had at USA Field Hockey and futures and the Majestix.”


Throughout her time as a youth player, Perkins had been playing up in age levels, which helped her last year into the high school season.

“Playing up my whole life, it has helped a lot and has helped me get to this position, especially the position I am in now,” Perkins said.

Now as a sophomore, Perkins is a leader on the Ramblers team that lost eight players, including Maddie’s sister Katie. Playing on a senior-heavy team, it allowed her to slide right in without the pressure. Now with a year under her belt learning from the seniors, like Moriah Hajduk who was the All-Region Player of the Year, Merrill believes Perkins can handle those responsibilities.

Playing with her sister and Hajduk a year ago, they motivated Perkins.

“They helped me a lot. They played the midfield and I was more of the forward,” Perkins said. “They would always push the ball up to me. On and off the field, they gave me so much boosting and they said so many nice things that help me get up and down (the field).”

Perkins’ offseason and knowledge for the sport is rubbing off on her teammates.

“It’s nice to have that type of skill level that we can still use and have her knowledge on the field,” Merrill said. “The kids see that, and they want to emulate that. Even though she’s a sophomore, she’s a leader on this team, not because of what she can do with the ball, but she’s talking, she’s positive on the field. She is a coach’s dream in all aspects.”

Merrill said there hasn’t been much of a transition for Perkins back to down to the high school level, coming from playing against the nation’s best all summer. The minor transition has been getting use to playing on a natural surface again after playing on turf.

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