The adage “hard work pays off” is a common one both in sports and life. Davis High field hockey players Rachel Foley, a junior last season, and Danielle Mentink, a sophomore in 2013-14, are perfect examples of why that saying is so popular.
This week, the pair is headed to the National Futures Championship in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. The tournament — which runs from Thursday through July 3 — is the culmination of the two Blue Devils standouts’ hard work over the past five months in the Futures Program.
For Foley and Mentink, the selection to the championship tournament puts them in the top 12 percent of prep field hockey players in the U.S.
Both girls followed similar paths to the program as each started playing the sport the summer before their freshman year, following in the footsteps of some of their family members.
“I started playing field hockey at a clinic the summer before my freshman year,” Foley said. “I started playing because my mom had played, and I wanted something to do besides soccer.”
Mentink, whose family includes mom Lea, dad Doug, and siblings Emily and Mike, added: “I started playing field hockey because both my aunts played field hockey at DHS and coached there, and both of them got scholarships to play field hockey.”
Both Foley and Mentink are key members of coach Sandie Marotti-Huckins’ DHS program, which has captured the past two Eastern Athletic League titles. Foley finished the most recent campaign as an all-tournament selection after helping the Devils sweep the EAL competition and earn the crown.
Foley and Mentink have also participated in the Futures Program in each of the last two years, passing the trial, which involves activities that have to be completed in a certain amount of time.
The program was as far as they got last year, but the second time around, the extra months of growing and practice made both of them good enough to clinch tournament spots.
“Last year, I’d only been playing for a year, so I wasn’t expecting to make the tournament,” Foley said. “But this year my skills have really improved, so I felt that there was a big chance that I was going to make it.”
Mentink added that she “had been training for (the Futures Program) since the last trial so I was really prepared and on the top of my game that day.”
With their hard work already paying off, both players have even higher hopes for the championship tournament and beyond. The event attracts scouts from many major colleges and, according to the Team USA website, most players in the Olympic program were at one time a tournament invitee.
“I’m expecting to go down, kick some butt, and make the Junior Olympic Team,” Mentink said. “I’m pretty confident that I’ll play (well), and I’ll have colleges watching me there.”
Foley has similar plans, and knows she and her teammate will have a blast.
“I’m just expecting to have a really fun time and play really hard,” Foley said. “I’m hoping to get some college offers out of the camp … if all goes well at the tournament, I can play (Division I).”
And just by reaching this elite level of field hockey, it’s safe to say that the old adage “hard work pays off” has been proven right yet again.
— Reach Spencer Ault at email@example.com