Feb. 7, 2011
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IOWA CITY, Iowa – – The University of Iowa field hockey program has signed five prep standouts. Corinne Allen, Brittany Evangelisti, Brynn Gitt, Dani Hemeon and Sara Watro all signed national letters of intent to attend the University of Iowa next fall and continue the excellent tradition of Iowa field hockey.
“We are thrilled to have signed such a strong class this year,” said Head Coach Tracey Griesbaum. “The five signees all complement each other so well. I believe they will have an impact in all three lines of our system right away. They all have experience playing more than one position during their prep years. That versatility will help us immensely as we try to put the strongest team out on the field in August.
“I am impressed with their passion for the sport of field hockey and most importantly, their competitive nature,” added Griesbaum. “This level of hockey requires commitment and effort at all times. This class is ready to embrace that and help propel the Hawkeyes in 2011.
“I look forward to coaching these five student-athletes,” said Griesbaum. “The Hawkeyes are welcoming them in with open arms and we look forward to them contributing to Iowa Field Hockey’s tradition of excellence.”
About Allen: Allen, a midfielder from Gibbsboro, NJ, is the daughter of Hope (Whitcraft) Allen, a Hawkeye standout from 1983-86 who was a member of two Big Ten championship teams and the 1986 national championship squad. Allen, a 2010 NFHCA second team National All-American, hails from Eastern High School, the same school as current Hawkeyes Geena Lesiak and Kelsey Mitchell. Eastern High School is a field hockey powerhouse. Allen, named team MVP, helped lead the school to its 12th consecutive New Jersey State Championship last year with a record of 23-1. Eastern High School will be retiring Allen’s jersey. In 2010, she was named the South Jersey Offensive Player of the Year, first team All-South Jersey and first team All-State. An honor roll student, Allen is the student representative to the board of education.
Coach Griesbaum on Allen: “Cori is a dynamic attacking player. She has the ability to eliminate defenders, draw penalty corners, and set-up scoring situations very consistently. Cori possesses strong fundamental skills, which allows her to be a very effective play maker all over the field. Her competitive nature, along with her field hockey skills and instincts will help propel our offense production next season.”
Why Iowa? “I chose to attend the University of Iowa for several reasons. After visiting other college campuses, I realized none could compare to Iowa. Iowa had everything I wanted to have a successful, student-athlete career. The Big Ten atmosphere, with a small town feeling and friendly community, was what I wanted. Also, Iowa has a history of being a top-rated field hockey program where I could compete at a very high level of play. I want to major in physical therapy, and Iowa has a pre-physical therapy major and a great medical program. I believe that at Iowa I can be pushed and challenged to become the best that I can be in both field hockey and academics.”
About Evangelisti: Evangelisti, a defender from Voorhees, NJ, was a teammate of Allen, Lesiak and Mitchell at Eastern High School. Evangelisti, the Eastern High School team captain in 2010, was the Star Ledger’s New Jersey State Player of the Year. In 2010, she was also named the South Jersey Defensive Player of the Year, and earned first team All-State, All-South Jersey and All-Conference laurels. Evangelisti received the Unsung Hero Award and was an honor roll student.
Coach Griesbaum on Evangelisti: “Britt is a very good defender. She has great technique and timing as an on-ball defender. She possesses great passing skills which helps her to distribute the ball out of the backfield. Those same passing skills, combined with great offensive instincts, allow her to be very dangerous in the offensive half of the field as well. Her competitive nature and tenacity make her a solid all-around player. We are excited to add Britt to our defensive mix.”
Why Iowa? “I chose the University of Iowa because it has everything that I am looking for in a college. They have a lot to offer both on the field and in the classroom. The thing that sold me the most was the facilities and the field hockey program. I am looking forward to my future as Hawkeye.”
About Gitt: Gitt, a midfielder from Lumberton, NJ, is a four-time National Futures Championship participant. In 2010, Gitt was named an NFHCA Regional All-American, South Jersey Co-Midfielder of the Year and All-South Jersey. A 2009 Junior Olympian and 2011 USA Futures Elite participant, she is ranked ninth in her class of 523 students. Gitt is also a National Honor Society member, National Spanish Honor Society member and a Varsity Club president at Rancocas Valley High School.
Coach Griesbaum on Gitt: “Brynn is a strong athlete. Her presence on the field cannot go unnoticed. She has solid skills on both the offensive and defensive side of the ball. Brynn can play all positions and that versatility will allow her an opportunity to play on two different lines within our system.”
Why Iowa? “Iowa has everything a student-athlete could want. I was impressed with the athletic facilities. In addition, I am very excited about entering the School of Engineering. The challenges both on and off the field will be endless. The coaches and the team are passionate about the game and will make the distance from home seem less. The campus is beautiful and I cannot see myself being anywhere else.”
About Hemeon: Hemeon, a midfielder from Gilroy, CA, was a 2008 and 2009 Junior Olympian. The 2010 team MVP at Gilroy High School, she was named MVP of the Mount Hamilton League. In 2009 and 2010, Hemeon was a Central Coast Section first team selection, a USA Field Hockey Junior National Camp selection, and was a 2009 USA Field Hockey Olympic Development selection. She competed on the California Senior High Performance Team at the 2010 USA National Championships; the same team as former Hawkeye Barb Weinberg and Sarah Dawson and current assistant coach and National Team member Caroline Nichols. During each year of her high school career, Hemeon has been named a `4.0 Three Sport Scholar Athlete’ in field hockey, basketball and softball.
Griesbaum on Hemeon: “Dani has exceptional offensive skills. Her ball control, elimination and passing ability will help the team right away. Her solid understanding of offensive tactics, along with her skill set, will allow us to play her at multiple positions. Dani has a passion for field hockey and a level of pride and competition that will set her up for success right away.”
Why Iowa? “I chose the University of Iowa because when I first stepped onto the campus in 2009, I knew I wanted to go there. Participating in the Junior Olympics that year was my first look at Iowa. Playing a week-long tournament on the beautiful new turf certainly helped my decision, and having Lisa (Cellucci) as my coach was fate. After my week in Iowa during that summer, I was able to get a feel for the entire University. Iowa offers the complete package. Being from California, I am a huge San Francisco Giants fan. I didn’t know what it would be like to live in a place where there were no professional sports. Then, I realized, in Iowa, Hawkeye sports are professional. The University of Iowa will also allow me to pursue my academic goals. All my life I have wanted to work in the medical field. Recently, I have decided that I want to become a physical therapist with special focus on rehabilitation of injured athletes. At Iowa, I am given the opportunity to pursue that goal. And, at Iowa, I know my dream to play field hockey as long as I can will become a reality. Coach Griesbaum and Coach Cellucci will provide me with the knowledge and the encouragement I need to pursue field hockey at the national level. I’m so excited!”
About Watro: Watro, a forward from Audubon, PA, is the daughter of Wendy (DeWane) Watro, who was a standout field hockey player for Iowa from 1978-82 and was a part of the 1980 Big Ten championship team. Watro earned first team All-Pac 10 and academic All-Pac 10 honors in 2010 as the team captain at Methacton High School. Watro was named to the Norristown Times Herald All-Area team in 2009 and 2010. In addition to starting every year in field hockey at Methacton, she also started three years on the lacrosse team. The winner of the 2010 Barb Clipshan Academic/Athletic Award, she was also a member of the WC Eagles Club Team that claimed the gold medal at the National Hockey Festival.
Coach Griesbaum on Watro: “Sara will contribute to the team with her ability to run and make plays. Her offensive skills and tactics will allow her to be effective. She has a good base of hockey knowledge and we are looking for her to help our offensive production.”
Why Iowa? “After visiting Iowa, seeing the beautiful campus, talking with academic advisors and meeting the coaches and team, I couldn’t help but think that this is where I wanted to spend the next four years. The amount of pride and tradition in athletics as well as the outstanding academics further influenced my decision and will open many opportunities for me. I have been a Hawkeye fan since before I can remember and I am proud to carry on the Black and Gold tradition!”