April 24, 2012
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Editor’s Note: The following first appeared in the University of Iowa’s Hawk Talk Daily, an e-newsletter that offers a daily look at the Iowa Hawkeyes, delivered free each morning to thousands of fans of the Hawkeyes worldwide.
IOWA CITY, Iowa — The University of Iowa field hockey team will host its annual spring tournament Saturday featuring the current Hawkeye squad and an alumni team. Northwestern will also compete in the tournament. Play is scheduled to begin at noon at Grant Field.
The tournament provides a key opportunity for the Hawkeyes to make progress during the spring practice period while competing against former UI standouts.
“This event is great for our current team,” said UI associate head coach Lisa Cellucci. “It gives them the opportunity to visit and connect with some great former Hawkeyes. The team really enjoys hearing all of the alums’ stories about their playing days.
“The game between the team and the alumni is really competitive and bragging rights are at stake. There will be former All-Americans, National Team members, Big Ten champions, and NCAA Final Four team members that will be showcasing their skills. It reaffirms to the current players how special this program really is and how with preparation, hard work, and commitment their goals can be achieved.”
The annual event also provides a perfect chance for former UI field hockey players to return to Iowa City.
“Each year I am eager to see the faces of other Hawkeyes who take the time to come back for alumni weekend,” said UI assistant coach Meghan Beamesderfer. “It goes to show how timeless and strong the Iowa tradition really is. They are here to be a part of a lifelong tradition, a lifelong team.”
Wendy (DeWane) Watro is one of a number of former standouts who will return this weekend. She is the mother of current Hawkeye freshman Sara Watro.
“It is always a thrill to be able to participate in an event with the field hockey team,” said Watro. “As one of the oldest alumni (1978-81), it is so exciting to see what a strong tradition of success continues at Iowa.
“I am looking forward to seeing four of my former teammates. The most exciting thing for me is that my daughter is a current player, and I am so proud to have her represent the University of Iowa as well. This is a special bond that we share and a dream come true for me. Once a Hawkeye, always a Hawkeye!”
Heather Schnepf was a member of Iowa’s 2006 team that captured the Big Ten Tournament championship and advanced to the NCAA Tournament. The former All-American, who was twice named Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year, echoed Watro’s sentiments.
“Since the day my career ended at Iowa, I have thought about what it would be like to come back and put on the black and gold,” said Schnepf, now an assistant coach at Kent State. “Being able to participate in this special event will allow myself, my former teammates and my fellow Hawkeyes to have that amazing feeling again.
“When we step away from Iowa City after our careers as Hawkeyes, we all take a new life path. We are not able to get together as much as we all have hoped for. So when an opportunity presents itself, it is filled with smiles, laughs and maybe a few tears. I cannot wait to reminisce with my fellow Hawkeyes, and I look forward to adding another memory tied to Iowa City and this program that I love so much.”
The return of the former Hawkeyes competing for the “Old Gold” alumni team shows the true Iowa field hockey tradition.
“Iowa field hockey has established a tradition of excellence,” said Cellucci, the school’s all-time saves leader. “There are only a handful of schools in the country that can compare to the tradition we have established. Everyone that is associated with the program is proud of our success and ensuring that it continues well into the future. That shows with the number of alums that come back each year to play in our spring tournament and show their Hawkeye pride.”