Not long after the lights go on in the Athletic & Fitness Center each morning, in walks Sixth Former Josie Varney. The Smithfield, Maine-raised teen is in the weight room while many of her peers are still slumbering in the hours before Chapel. In the afternoons, the crack of a field hockey stick against a plastic ball echoes from the Cage where Varney spends her time in the offseason.
“You’ll hear this from all athletes who love their sport, but it’s about everybody doing that behind-the-scenes stuff,” says Varney. “The thing with field hockey is it never stops.”
Varney's dedication has garnered the four-year varsity athlete national accolades. In January, Varney was named a first-team of the National Field Hockey Coaches Association (NFHCA) High School All-America squad. She was among 48 girls from across the country chosen for the honor and is one of six recipients this year to have received the distinction three times in her high school career. In addition to that feat, Varney also earned a spot on the 29-player roster for the 2019 USA Field Hockey Under-19 National Team. As part of the junior national program, Varney trains with top talent from across the United States and has the opportunity to compete with the team at the international level. She's no stranger to USA Field Hockey – before this year Varney competed with the program’s U-17 squad for two years.
“What I truly love about coaching Josie is that she is humble and always wants to improve,” says Girls Varsity Field Hockey Coach Heather Crutchfield. “She embraces feedback and expects the best of herself and her teammates. There is not a coach in the league who doesn’t respect her level of play.”
Her love of the game began early. "My older cousin played field hockey at my old school," remembers Varney. "She gave me my first stick in fourth grade." From there, her commitment to the sport grew. At SPS, when her offseason routine wraps up for the week, Varney uses Sundays to play for a club field hockey team and runs the girls’ 3,000-meter race for the School’s track team during the Spring Term.
She pushes herself just as hard in the classroom. “I couldn’t do it without my teachers and mentors at SPS,” says Varney. When not on the field, the science-savvy student-athlete can be found in the lab studying Exercise Physiology and Molecular Biology. Next fall, Varney will continue to pursue her dual interests. She will play field hockey at the collegiate level while working towards a degree in biology or pre-med.