Mt. Ararat field hockey players Wyley Fitzpatrick, left, and Brea Holtet celebrate after the Eagles won a Class A North quarterfinal game last fall. Both players will be playing at college. Fitzpatrick will attend Dickinson College in Carlisle, Pennsylvania and Holtet at Plymouth St. Submitted photo

The Mt. Ararat field hockey team enjoyed a standout fall campaign, finishing 11-4 and recording a big Class A North quarterfinal victory over Messalonskee.

Not only did the regional semifinal appearance help fuel a winning culture that coach Krista Chase brought to Topsham, it also cemented the standout careers of a strong senior class.

Five of the eight MTA seniors plan to play field hockey in college.

Mt. Ararat senior Wyley Fitzpatrick was one of the top players in the state last fall. Fitzpatrick will attend Dickinson College in Carlisle, Pennsylvania. Submitted photo

Brea Holtet and Holly Temple will attend Plymouth (New Hampshire) State University, while Emma Lapreziosa will attend Wheaton College (Norton, Massachusetts). Wyley Fitzpatrick, who emerged as one of the top players in the state last fall, will attend Dickinson College (Carlisle, Pennsylvania) and Gabby Head will go to Thomas College in Waterville.

“It feels great,” Chase said. “Honestly, probably the biggest joy of being a coach is watching my seniors go off to college and start a career path, but having them play field hockey is icing on the cake. Watching them play their childhood joy into adulthood is a great thing, so to have five of them doing it is the greatest ever.”

The MTA field hockey program has been competitive over the years, but only recently did it become a contender in Class A North. Now, with five players set to extend their careers at the collegiate level, the Eagles are showing the recent success is no fluke.

The players said the Eagles played with determined focus and had good chemistry that had been growing over the last few years.

“It was the bond off the field,” Temple said. “We were always hanging out. In between preseason sessions we would go to Wyley’s house and we were all so close and we were pretty much family. It was a lot different than what we had the last few years. I think it had a lot to do with the seniors and how the junior varsity and varsity teams became one unified team this season.”

Chase focused on building a culture at Mt. Ararat when she became coach six years ago, and her players reaped the benefits.

“We were just all so close and we could tell each other anything,” Fitzpatrick said. “If we had an issue our coach is really good at making us go out to lunch or you had to sit there and hug it out before you could go back onto the field and it was a really great family dynamic.”

Added Chase, who previously coached at Cony High in Augusta: “When I took this program over six years ago I knew I had a lot of work to do,” Chase said. “I had an eye on the middle schoolers, this senior group, and they were exciting. They had a lot of work to do but they were really exciting and I think it was that they never gave up. They were gritty and they never gave up and so I knew the potential was there for them to grow our program. If you look at the last few years that’s what it was. They bought in. I am a huge team culture person, that’s what I am most protective of. They bought in and I think that was a really big part of our success. I think when you see a program growing or improving I think there’s a lot of passion in that. I think they want to keep going because they were really instrumental in growing our team and our program.”

Mt. Ararat senior Gabrielle Head will attend Thomas College in Waterville. Submitted photo

After losing to Skowhegan in the Class A semifinals, five players will be able to continue their careers in college.

Fitzpatrick wanted to stay in New England, but a late pitch from a friend, then the team, swayed the senior forward to Pennsylvania.

“One of the girls on the team, her (brother) goes to Dickinson,” Fitzpatrick said. “So I reached out to the coach and it was late in the process and I asked if she was still recruiting and I sent a video. She said they were totally interested and they wanted me to come down for an overnight. I got to see a game and I immediately fell in love and the team is what really sold me. I got to see the locker room and the field and I felt like I was already a part of the family.”

Fitzpatrick said the atmosphere at Dickinson mirrored that of Mt. Ararat’s.

“I definitely wanted a team that was like our high school team,” Fitzpatrick said. “I talked to girls that went to clinics and they didn’t have a good time in high school but our team is so close, we have been playing since kindergarten.”

For Temple, the academics were just as big a consideration as field hockey.

Even after high school, the 2019 Mt. Ararat field hockey team won’t be forgotten by those on it anytime soon.

“I think that it was probably the way that we worked together as a team but the level of intensity we had was way higher than the past three years,” Temple said. “We all worked hard and were super motivated this season.”

 


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