Local field hockey players, coach head to Australia
Region – A pair of Central Massachusetts field hockey players are about to embark on the trip of a lifetime.
Marla Caram, a rising senior at Hudson High, and Jess Dankner, who graduated earlier this month from Westborough High and will attend Skidmore College, will accompany Algonquin Regional High School field hockey coach Dan Welty and seven other local athletes on a 14-day trip to Sydney, Australia, where all the focus will be on field hockey.
Welty's club team, the Spiders, leave for Sydney Sunday June 29 and will return home Saturday July 12.
"I'm really excited about this trip," Caram said. "Field hockey at Hudson High, up to this point, has not been that big a deal. Last year was the first year we ever qualified for the tournament and, as a captain next year, I want to keep the success going. I'm looking at this as a training trip, so I can improve next year over last year and help my team be better."
Dankner said she is going to pay close attention to the Australian players.
"They have a reputation among hockey players for all the crazy tricks they can pull off , so hopefully while we're there I can learn some of them and bring them back and show my friends," Dankner said. "I also see this trip as a chance to keep playing and stay sharp, so when my preseason starts at Skidmore I'll be in shape and ready."
Welty, who plays in an adult league in Boston, arranged the trip with the help of David Mike, a friend who runs field hockey summer camps all over New England and also serves as the development office r for New South Wales Hockey in Sydney.
"We were talking about 14 or 15 months ago and I was telling David how much I would love to go to Sydney to visit the Hockey Centre, and walk on the field where the 2000 Gold Medal game was held," Welty said. "Just to step on that turf would be such a rush."
Caram and Dankner both said they are "pumped" to be getting a chance to play on the same field where the 2000 Olympic gold medal field hockey game was played.
Mike suggested Welty or- ganize a summer trip with a team, and if he managed to get enough players to make the trip, he would arrange an itinerary that would feature not only a visit to the Hockey Centre and the field the gold medal game was played on, but a game on that very field where history was made eight summers ago.
Welty did his part, coming up with nine players who will make the trip, and Mike held up his end of the bargain, too, putting together an itinerary that will feature five games and five practices in the land down under, including at least one on the turf field of the Hockey Centre.
Joining Caram and Dankner on the trip are: Jackie Bath (Worcester Academy), Chelsea Blackmer (Tahanto Regional, Keene State), Tiff any Boccia (Leominster High, Worcester State), Rebecca Ellis (Gardner High), Rachel Goodell (Notre Dame Academy, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute), Kasey Looney (Leiceister High, Lasell) and Justine Walsh (Framingham High, UMass-Dartmouth).
To round out the team, Welty, through Mike, will have twin sisters from Australia join the Spiders for their time in Sydney.
Welty said the trip is costing each player about $3,000. He said along with the players, Lisa Ellis, Rebecca Ellis's mother, is making the trip. Lisa Ellis is a registered nurse and serves as the school nurse at Gardner Middle School.
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