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Junior Lilly Wojcik goes up against a defender. Photograph Courtesy of Lilly Wojcik

Wojcik Represents Junior Team USA Field Hockey

October 12, 2022

A girl walks out onto the field hockey turf, gear in hand, with the sun beating down on her face. The scent of grass in the field is not new to her.

Junior Lilly Wojcik has been playing field hockey since she was in kindergarten, and her hardwork and dedication to the sport shows.

Wojcik’s family members were the ones who encouraged her to play, but her sister, alumnus Lauryn Wojcik, was the one who especially inspired her to take on this sport.

“My older sister [played], and my mom was really into getting us all [involved with] sports when we were little,” Wojcik said. “I wanted to be like my sister.”

The inspiration and support from her family led her to the Junior USA team, which she learned about from a couple of her WC Eagles club teammates.

“When I first started playing for my club, I heard that my friends were involved in this thing called ‘Futures,’ which is a way to get accepted into the USA Program and to just get extra training,” Wojcik said. “I was not expecting to make the USA team or anything like that, but I did that for a few years…”

With tryouts being intimidating and competitive for such a high level team, Wojcik was anxious.

“I was so nervous at the camp that I had to talk to a sports counselor to build my confidence, and I really think that that was the reason I made the team,” Wojcik said.

Being away from friends and family is not easy, so when her mom and some of her fellow teammates came to the tryouts that were long distance, it made things easier for Wojcik.

“With a lot of these trips, my mom came with me, so I always had a family member with me, and a lot of my club friends also made the USA Team, so I was able to be with them,” Wojcik said. “It was really nice to have them there….”

Wojcik plays alongside her Junior Team USA teammates. Photograph Courtesy of Lilly Wojcik

Wojcik has also been able to gain a lot of new and fun experiences with her new team.

“When we were [competing] in Canada in May, it was one of the best experiences I have ever had in my life,” Wojcik said. “Everybody was… together on and off the field, which was awesome. There has not been any drama or problems which is super great.”

Time management is key for Wojcik since she has to balance multiple team practices plus her school homework.

“There are days that I do not come home [until] 11:30 p.m. because I have school practice [and then] I have to leave early due to my USA training,” Wojcik said. “[By the time I am home,] I still have to [focus on my] school work.”

Wojcik has set various goals along the way to continue to improve as a player.

“[One of my biggest goals is] …definitely learning how to work with other players that I have never met before and also to learn to always be competitive and want what is best for me and other people,” Wojcik said.

Wojcik poses in front of the Princeton Mascot with her field hockey stick in hand. Photograph Courtesy of Lilly Wojcik

Colleges have been scouting Wojcik since she was 7-years-old, and the recruiting process started very early.

“I started thinking about colleges [at a young age] because my recruiting process started so early when I was in club…,” Wojcik said. “…We emailed coaches to gain their interest. For some reason, Princeton just really stood out to me, so I started going to their clinics and getting to know them… [The coaches and I] started to gain a relationship around [age] 11 or 12, and from there, I kept sending emails and followed them on instagram.”

This past summer, she committed to Princeton University. She hopes to study pre-med or molecular biology while also playing for their field hockey team.

Coach McLaughlin has been coaching for 46 years and has just started coaching Wojcik. She coached Wojcik’s older sister, Lauryn, as well.

“She is talented and moves like an athlete,” McLaughlin said. “She has worked tremendously hard, and her skills and her game have proven that.”

Looking at the team from a coach’s perspective, McLaughlin is proud of their companionship on and off the field.

“This year… from my perspective…, I see this group of girls coming together more than I have seen in the years past,” McLaughlin said. “They are friends and are enjoying [time with] each other, so I think that’s been something this year that has been special.”

Talking about Wojcik’s overall personality, McLaughlin believes that her parents deserve kudos for making Wojcik who she is today.

“I think that Lilly is a sweet girl and a kind girl, and I have seen that with her interacting with different people at different times,” McLaughlin said. “I see that as a benefit, and her parents deserve a lot of credit for forming her into that.”

Junior Rachel Stiffler has been playing field hockey for nine years and has played with Wojcik for all of them.
Stiffler believes that Wojcik has made everyone on the field play better and stronger.

“Her level of play makes everyone else play at a higher speed, and we all just play better with her,” Stiffler said. “She pushes us to be better and to be as good as her. We look up to her.”

Being on the field hockey team with Wojcik for so long, Stiffler believes that they push each other to do better.

“I definitely think that I have gotten better since playing with her because she has always been there to push me, and I am always there to push her as well,” Stiffler said. “I think we work well together.”

Stiffler wishes Wojcik the best in her journey ahead.

“I would love to see her succeed, and I know she will, especially at Princeton,” Stiffler said. “Overall, I just wish for her success.”

 

 

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    Aubrey SmithOct 14, 2022 at 1:17 pm

    SO PROUD OF YOU KENDALL!! I am so happy that you have found somthing you are passionate about and you do so well at! You go Kendall!!

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