HARWICH ─ Hannah Potter started playing field hockey when she was about five years old, and still has the tiny stick she originally learned the game with. Now, as her senior season with the Monomoy Sharks comes to a close, Potter is setting her sights on continuing her career with the St. Anselm College Hawks after formally signing her letter of intent.
In an intimate but enthusiastic celebration held in the Athletic Director's office at Monomoy Regional High School last week, Potter, center forward for the Monomoy field hockey team, committed to playing for the Hawks at a signing attended by her parents, Jay and Briana, her longtime field hockey coach Cheryl Poore, head of both the Monomoy program and Cape Cod Reach Field Hockey Camp, guidance counselor Jonathan Bennett, and several excited friends.
Bennett spoke of what an achievement such as Potter's means to her and to the school.
“Not only is she an exceptional athlete, but she's also a stellar student in the classroom, so not only was she able to gain acceptance to St. Anselm for field hockey, but she was also rewarded financially for her brain power as well,” he said. “This is something we celebrate maybe once every couple of years at our school, so it's a huge accomplishment and I think she owes a lot to our own field hockey program, in addition to all of the club teams she's played with over time, literally since she was knee high. I'm so happy for her and her family.”
Potter first picked up the traditional curved stick somewhere around the age of five when she began lessons via Poore's day camp. It wasn't long before the field hockey bug bit, and Potter became a formidable player, one that Poore said has earned a spot in Monomoy history through her leadership and passion.
“We stay organized because of Hannah (as captain), and her enthusiasm, the kids all respond to that tremendously,” Poore said. “She's one of those players that when she's gone, you tell all the teams that are coming behind about her. She becomes part of the legend and the lore of Monomoy and Harwich field hockey.”
Poore said that Potter is perhaps the best stick handler she's seen in her extensive coaching career, and is certainly one of the best in the region, and that Potter's true dedication to the sport throughout her youth has been admirable.
“When she was younger it was just this desire that translated to very aggressive play on the field,” Poore said. “And then she was so committed to improving her skill year after year. It was amazing to see her skill level. It went up exponentially year after year. I once said that a former player was the best stick handler. She nudged her right out of place. She's the best stick handler I've seen.”
Potter said that for her, field hockey was simply the ideal sport, and that St. Anselm is the school for her both academically and athletically.
“I just loved the school and the field hockey program,” Potter said, still smiling from the excitement of signing her letter. “Everything just fit me so perfectly.”
Potter said when she received word of the offer to play field hockey for the Hawks, she was elated.
“I was beyond excited,” she said. “It's weird knowing I'm actually going to college, but it's more happy than weird.”
Her parents are also excited and have been enjoying the field hockey adventure. That it will continue is something of a dream come true.
“I'm very proud,” said Jay. “Emotional. Excited. I could name a bunch of [feelings]. I've been watching her since she was four years old and I'm excited for four more years.”
“I've just been crying tears of happiness for like two weeks,” added Briana with a wide smile.
On the field at St. Anselm, Potter will continue in the position of center forward, her starring role with the Sharks, while academically she plans to major in marketing, with a minor in sports studies, which she hopes to parlay into a future with a major athletic attire company. She is eagerly looking forward to more time playing the sport she loves.
“It's really like no other,” Potter said. “Being with a team and having that connection with all of your coaches and players is indescribable. The hours of practice and the love that you have to have for the sport. I don't know if I'll start or not, but I'll definitely get playing time.”
“It's a great program,” said Poore. “And they're going to get one of the best stick handlers of all time.”