The Raymond Locke Foundation annually gives the Unsung Hero Award to a senior player, who receives a certificate and scholarship check for $300 and her name inscribed on a permanent plaque displayed in the trophy case at Bethesda-Chevy Chase High School. The 2017 winner is Lily DuFour. Here's Samantha and Abby presenting her award to Lily.
Past Unsung Hero award winners
Janessa Pope was a multi-sport athlete at Central Dauphin HS. She played soccer, ran indoor and outdoor track, and field hockey. In her sophomore year, she helped Central Dauphin to state title in soccer as a sophomore. She was a captain in her senior year leading the Rams to two state tournaments including semifinals appearance as a senior en route to first team all-state recognition as a senior and the all-state second team as a junior. Janessa was chosen team MVP as a senior as well as offensive MVP in 2007 and 2008, and selected to The Patriot News Big-11 Team in 2008.
At the University of Maryland, Janessa was a hearing and speech sciences major and remained at Maryland to complete her masters in Speech Language Pathology. She competed in every game during her career as a Terp. She was a member of the first Maryland field hockey team to have a perfect regular season who went on to have a 23-1 final record.
While at Maryland, she competed for 4 seasons participated in 4 final fours, won 2 ACC championships, and 2 national championships. Janessa was the team’s co-captain in her senior year, and was selected to the NFHCA Senior All Star game. Janessa was named to the ACC’s Academic Honor Roll and NFHCA All-Academic Squad. She also received the Dina Rizzo award and the Kate Kauffman-Beach award, an honor that goes to a player epitomizes the "world class" hockey player that demonstrates the technical and tactical skills coupled with the heart of a champion.
Currently, Janessa is a Speech-Language Pathologist at Sligo Creek Elementary School and Silver Spring International Middle School. She continues to remain active in the field hockey community by coaching with Freedom Hky Club working with players ages 11-19.
Meghan Wendt is a former All-Division Berks County (PA) field hockey player; she enjoys giving back to a sport that became her passion when she first started playing in 3rd grade. She ran track and cross country at Penn State, where she holds a record in the 4x1500.
Meghan is an English Language Arts teacher in MCPS. Education and the opportunity gap are two core focuses in both her career and volunteer life within public policy. She has worked with other non-profits such as Girls on The Run DC and The Boys and Girls Club of Atlantic City and Boston because she sees the tremendous benefit in fostering youth through sports.
Field hockey: ‘Leftovers’ push Wheaton to 3-0 start
By Gabe Hiatt and Aaron Kasinitz
Tiffany Pauls is the type of girl who tries out for field hockey at Wheaton, which is to say, she never played the sport before high school. Now a senior, Pauls joined the team as a freshman because she had played a little street hockey. At the time, the Knights had not won a game in four years.
Coach Alex Helberg called the girls on his team the leftovers. He had to recruit players who were cut in other sports.
Three years after Pauls – a captain in the midfield – arrived, the leftovers haven’t lost a game. Wheaton has run out to a 3-0 start this fall with wins over Kennedy, Magruder and Einstein.
“Field hockey, at least from what I’ve experienced, was really looked down upon, but we’ve put in a lot of work, so I don’t understand how people can still do that when we’ve done so much,” Pauls said. “We’ve really turned things around this year. We’re trying to.”
When Helberg first arrived, the thought of even stepping on the field with a Montgomery County power like Poolesville or Bethesda-Chevy Chase rattled the Knights. After playing 12 years of ice hockey through the county junior leagues, Helberg said he started coaching field hockey because the position was open and it seemed like the next best thing.
He said his first priorities were establishing a competitive attitude and a familial bond. The Knights talk about family before and after every practice.
“I take [losing] badly,” he said. “To see the girls take it, some of them badly, and some of them not so badly, it was definitely different. It was my first year coaching a female sport.”
Gradually, the Knights took Helberg’s message to heart. Wheaton won one game in 2012, three games in 2013 and finished .500 last year at 6-6. This year the goal is to go at least 7-5.
Helberg said the improvement would not have been possible without the Raymond Locke Foundation, which hosts field hockey clinics around the county to coach fundamentals.
The foundation gave Pauls scholarship money to play with the Jackals field hockey club the summer after her sophomore season.
“It made me realize that I needed to work a little bit harder,” she said, “Because there are girls that have been playing field hockey since they were really young, and I’ve only been playing since ninth grade.”
Along with Pauls and captain Amanda Mutai, sophomore Hannah Duling has provided a major boost, leading the team with five goals.
Conditioning has been a major emphasis, and Helberg said for the first time the Knights have had a big enough turnout to make cuts.
When Wheaton takes the field this year, the Knights are savoring the challenges ahead.
“This year I’d say I feel a lot more excited,” Pauls said. “I feel a lot of excitement in the team, because they know that field hockey is starting to build up, they know what we’re starting to do. It’s motivating me. I feel like it’s motivating everybody.”
1. Tell us about yourself!
I'm currently sixteen and I live with my younger brother, mother, father, and grandma. Growing up I went to a variety of schools until I finally landed in Takoma Park. While I was in middle school I developed a liking for math and science and that's what led me to apply for the engineering magnet at Wheaton High School. My favorite subject in high school so far has been AP Government, even though I'm in an engineering program. I really liked the class. The best thing about high school is that there are so many ways to get involved and so many people to meet. But, on the other hand, it's hard to try and juggle all of your extracurricular activities with school and your social/family life. It's been a roller coaster so far but I still have about a year and a half to go and I'm looking forward to seeing what happens in the future.
2. How has being a part of the Wheaton High School Field Hockey team benefitted you? What's the best part about it?
Being part of the Wheaton Field Hockey team has opened my eyes to the possibilities of playing other sports besides popular ones like basketball and soccer. I really love the Wheaton Field Hockey team because no matter what we are always positive, even if we don't win, and we always aim higher next time. I also love the fact that we consider ourselves part of the field hockey family because that bond definitely helps us communicate better.
3. Have you seen changes in the team since the Raymond Locke Foundation began hosting clinics for the Wheaton community?
I have definitely seen changes. It gives some girls who have no experience but are interested in field hockey time to try it out before the season starts. The clinics also help in the off season because most girls aren't playing on a club team and the clinics are a helpful refresher.
4. How has being a part of Jackals benefitted you?
Playing on Jackals has given me more confidence when I'm on the field because the girls we play against are not afraid of a little pushing and shoving. Not only that, but I feel like I have improved skill wise. The coaches have a lot of helpful tricks to help you during a game.
5. Do you ever think about playing field hockey in college? Maybe not a huge Division 1 school but a small Division 3 school. If not playing in college do you have a college in mind you are interested in attending?
I've definitely thought about playing field hockey in college. Whether the school has a team or not, even if it's just intramural, having a field hockey team has been a huge factor in my college search. Some of the colleges that have field hockey as a sports that I like include UC Davis and Columbia.