Sept. 18, 2014
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Editor’s note: 24 Hawkeyes to Watch is a feature released Monday, Aug. 4, highlighting one athlete from each of the 24 intercollegiate sports offered by the University of Iowa. More than 700 talented student-athletes are currently busy preparing for the 2014-15 athletics year at the UI. Hawkeyesports.com will introduce you to 24 Hawkeyes who, for one reason or another, are poised to play a prominent role in the intercollegiate athletics program at the UI in the coming year.
By DARREN MILLER
IOWA CITY, Iowa — Asking Brynn Gitt to unify the first line of defense for the University of Iowa field hockey team should come as second nature for someone who excels at organization.
Gitt is a senior midfielder for the Hawkeyes. She played sparingly during her first three seasons: three games as a freshman, nine as a sophomore, eight as a junior. Her first career start came during a 4-1 win against No. 11 Wake Forest on Aug. 30.
In the past, Gitt has always been ready to fill in when needed; this season UI head coach Lisa Cellucci will expand Gitt’s role.
“It’s all out at this point,” said Gitt, a native of Lumberton, New Jersey. “Everything is left on the field and I’ll do anything I can to prepare.”
From the time Gitt arrived on campus in 2011, there have been several Hawkeyes score more goals and compile more assists. But for Gitt, the number 3.97 is significant. That is her current cumulative grade-point average (on a 4.0 scale) while pursuing a major in computer engineering.
“Preparation is key, on the field and in the classroom,” Gitt said. “If you can get a calendar set and know what you are doing at any moment in a day, that helps set you up for success.”
Since this is her final season on the pitch, Gitt chose a good semester to — as she says — “coast out” in the classroom. She is taking 15 hours, which includes the elective class, Theory and Ethics of Coaching — fitting for a senior field leader.
The last two seasons Gitt has been named Gladiator SGI/NFHCA Division I Scholar of Distinction. The honor goes to student-athletes who achieve a minimum GPA of 3.90.
“Brynn is highly intelligent, she puts in the work, and takes pride in her school work,” Cellucci said. “She is a great example.”
As impressive as her GPA, much can be said about Gitt’s role as a teammate. She embraced her position as a reserve while the Hawkeyes registered records of 15-5 in 2011, 14-7 in 2012, and 13-8 in 2013. This is Gitt’s season to log significant minutes.
“It is what we talk about all the time: everybody is valued 100 percent, no matter what role you play,” Cellucci said. “She has taken that to heart, and the coaching staff has appreciated it.”
“I feel like I have to be ready to do anything and be ready to step into whatever role I need to take. Having that flexibility and willingness to do whatever the team needs is the key.”
UI senior midfielder
“I feel like I have to be ready to do anything and be ready to step into whatever role I need to take,” Gitt said. “Having that flexibility and willingness to do whatever the team needs is the key.”
In six matches this season, the Hawkeyes are 4-2 overall with wins against No. 6 Virginia and No. 11 Wake Forest. Gitt has played in all six — starting against Wake Forest, No. 2 North Carolina, and UC Davis. She has two shots on goal.
Gitt has also positioned herself with plenty of potential employment options after college. On one hand, she is interested in software development; on another she would like to get into the business side of planning and managing software for various projects. Last summer Gitt completed an internship at Innovative Software Engineering in Coralville, where she worked on two Windows CE projects that dealt with a trucking application.
The organization Gitt is required to show in field hockey’s midfield has shown up on long road trips to Big Ten Conference venues. An eight hour bus ride to Michigan is no problem for Gitt, who will spend seven of those hours completing a class project.
On off days, that organization helps her identify when to put in extra time on the field, watching video, or cross-training.
“It’s understanding that schedule and getting yourself to be at a higher level fitness-wise and skill-wise,” Gitt said. “Especially finding time to work on your individual skills so you can best help the team.”
In high school, Gitt was named South Jersey Co-Midfielder of the Year and All-South Jersey. She was a four-time National Futures Championship participant. Gitt displayed resolve while adapting to college life and being miles from home.
“It was pretty tough in the beginning, getting used to being so far away from home and adjusting to college life,” Gitt said. “It has been a great experience. The university has so many resources athletically and academically that you can take advantage of. I’m trying to take advantage of everything I can while I’m here.”
Her time at the UI is winding down. For Gitt and fellow seniors Dani Hemeon and Sara Watro, there are 11 regular season games remaining before the Big Ten Tournament begins Nov. 6.
“I’m focusing on the team goals: Big Ten Conference champs, Big Ten Tournament, and ultimately making the NCAA Tournament as well,” Gitt said. “That’s what our team wants to do and it is going to take focusing each day and trying to improve every day.”