Figuring out what you want to do with the rest of your life as a newly graduated high school senior can be an overwhelming decision to make. Who ever really knows what they are destined for? Each day is a new possibility to find a new passion to do something extraordinary with your life. Choosing a college or university is about finding the fit that will work best not only for your lifetime goals, but also your needs now—financially, geographically, academically, socially and athletically.
Being a NCAA Division III student-athlete is one the most incredible opportunities a person can have. To be able to play the sport you love for a few extra years at a highly competitive level is an experience in itself you will never forget.
Hear from former student-athletes on why they chose Ramapo, and why it was so important to play Division III field hockey.
Katie Bruno, Ramapo ’13, played for RCFH 2009-2012/Captain ’12 season:
“Ramapo field hockey was one of the greatest things to happen to me. Going away to college is hard on any one, but field hockey was what kept me in high spirits. Although preseason was tough, I met all of my friends there and it made transitioning that much easier. Throughout the years playing, everyone had their ups and downs, but at the end of the day the friendships we made on the team were what really mattered.
Playing a Division III sport helped me balance my college life very well. If I didn’t have that balance in my schedule, I don’t think I would have managed my time well at all. It gave me experiences that I will never forget and even helped me become a better person. When you play a D3 sport, or any sport, there are very stressful moments. Being a part of the team for four years helps you manage your stress in difficult situations. It will absolutely affect my post-grad life because on any interview for a job that I will go on I will always note that I was a four year athlete. I think it shows that I know how to manage my time and that I have great leadership and communication skills.
It’s very hard to narrow down my one favorite memory as a Roadrunner. I would say my favorite memory was running my timed mile in under 7 minutes my junior year. All through high school I was always known as the one who hates running, or for that matter couldn’t run anything other than a short sprint. That summer I trained so hard and it really paid off. I will never forget taking my headphones out on the last 100 yards to hear my time. I sprinted as hard as I could to make sure I crossed the line before coach screamed out 7. I clocked in at 6:58 and let me tell you it was the greatest feeling of my life!”
Viki Ahlers, Ramapo ’13, played for RCFH from 2009-2012:
Ramapo Field Hockey is essentially the main reason I enjoyed college as much as I did. The girls were my best friends and family for the past four years. Ramapo Field Hockey became my main comfort zone the second I walked into my freshman year preseason. On and off the field I could count on every single one of these girls for anything. I cannot express how much I am going to miss getting to spend the majority of my days with these amazing girls come the middle of August.
Being a Divison III athlete has influenced me positively and taught me things that I will be able to carry with me for the rest of my life. The main thing it taught me was that you can have an equal balance of fun and seriousness. There was a sharp competitive edge to each game, but at the end of the day we were all athletes playing for the love of the game, and having the times of our lives together.
It’s hard to pick just one favorite memory as a Roadrunner. I have to say two because they were both equally amazing. The first was one day we were at practice; it was really dark and cloudy out. We knew the sky was going to open up any second so we moved through pretty quickly. Right as we finished our last drill, it began to pour rain. For some reason instead of running for shelter, we started running around and playing in it. We even stomped in the puddles on the track, and waded in the ankle deep “floods”. It was one of the most fun days because none of us cared that we were wet and freezing, we were having WAY too much fun. My other favorite memory is when we beat Kean in overtime. Kean was always our Achilles heel the entire duration of my career at Ramapo. They would always beat us by one or two goals in a really close, intense game. After 60 minutes of some of the most fun, competitive hockey games I ever played, the thought of playing overtime was extremely nerve-wracking. But we pulled together, and were able to put one in the net only a couple minutes in. And then we celebrated like we just won Olympic gold.”
Christine Lafferty, Ramapo ’11, played for RCFH from 2007-2010/Captain ’10 season:
“Why Ramapo? –I get that question a lot! I also get ‘where the heck is that?’ or ‘I’ve never heard of it.’
Honestly, I went because my best friend, Kelsey, showed me the school and I fell in love with the beautiful scenery and the wonderful dorms. I also went there because it’s a state school, and one of the only state schools that had a major in law which is what I’ve always wanted to pursue. Lastly, after going to an open house I was approached by the field hockey coach because I was wearing my high school field hockey sweatshirt.
I wasn’t confident in my field hockey skills and never really considered playing in college, but once I started getting recruited and she promised she’d help me get in to the school I already fell in love with for so many reasons, I decided that I wanted to play hockey. I walked on to the team with no hope of starting, just a hope that it would allow me to at least make some friends and become better acclimated with the school. Not only did it give me above and beyond those expectations but it allowed me to become one of the two starting freshman on the team that year.
Why field hockey? Because sports can teach you so many things – discipline, loyalty, hard work and teamwork. Field hockey gave me my best friends, who six years later I am still so involved and in love with. It gave me discipline to work hard at not only in field hockey but at school – graduating from Ramapo Cum laude and with all kinds of academic and athletic honors with a major and a minor. It taught me respect and loyalty that I carry with me in every aspect of life. Sports are more than just blood sweat and tears – they are a lifestyle, a lifestyle that teaches you to be a better person. I find that the lessons I learned on the field were the most valuable to me if I applied them to life.
Why D3? Because D3 makes field hockey a part of your life, not all of your life. It gives you the right balance without all the pressure of D2 and D1. It allows you to enjoy your sport and your teammates and not think of the sport as a job. Don’t get me wrong, D3 is still a lot of time, work, and effort. But in D3 they push your academics first because they don’t have all the money riding on your wins and losses as an athlete but rather the successes in your academic life. It creates a good balance of work and play and allows you to enjoy what you love and never lose the reason why you decided to play in college in the first place – for the love of the game.”
Kelly Craig, Ramapo ’13, played for RCFH from 2009-2011:
“Ramapo was actually my back up school. I was planning on going to a much larger school but because of prices, the draw of field hockey and the opportunity to travel, I chose Ramapo.
Like many others, I had a rough time in high school. One of the big factors to me getting through it was field hockey. Being able to sprint off any aggravation at the end of each school day was the healthiest way I dealt with teen angst. Once I hit senior year of high school, I didn’t need the sport as I’d used it in the past but simply enjoyed it.
I will always remember after one game senior year, I overheard some parents talking about who they think will play in college. They listed me as one of the players who won’t. That definitely gave me the extra bit of motivation to play in college. Along with that, it’s nice to start out in a new place in shape with a team of friends. Not to mention field hockey keeps you motivated and focused; I made the dean’s list every season.
This is the first year I won’t be playing field hockey, although it makes me feel better that I stopped after a whole decade with Ramapo going the farthest in history. I came out of RCFH with friendships and memories.
When I was about to choose one of those big schools, I was chasing this dream of the “classic college experience.” Because of Ramapo, I was given the opportunity to become a collegiate athlete, a member of a sorority and a study abroad student. I was able to do all of those things because of Ramapo College. There was nothing in college I regret not doing, and I don’t know about you, but I think that’s pretty incredible.”