Post-Collegiate HARROWines featuring Heather Schnepf
As part of USA Field Hockey's Post- Collegiate HARROWines series, staff member Kait Mitchell catches up Kent State University assistant field hockey coach Heather Schnepf for a quick Q & A.
The thread of email exchanges between Harrow Cup Dynasty captain Heather Schnepf and her teammates runs the gamut. Because for Schnepf, life and field hockey are a balanced blend of being serious sprinkled with moments of humor.
Schnepf, a 2006 Iowa University grad and a prior All-American as well as a two-time Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year, has made a dynamic impact as the assistant field hockey coach at Kent State University and previously at Drexel University in the same role. Schnepf was also a member of the U.S. Under-21 National Team and took home the silver medal at the 2009 Pan American Games – experiences which she will undoubtedly tap into at the Philadelphia tournament in June. And although Team Dynasty will be taking the pitch with unparalleled intensity at Harrow Cup, expect bursts of laughter if the turf monster snags a sneaker or two in the process.
KM: As the Harrow Cup draws near, what are you most looking forward to from a tournament captain’s perspective?
HS: This opportunity has provided me to learn more about my leadership capabilities. Being a coach and a captain gives me the chance to take a deeper look at how I mentor young ladies while on the field and in life.
KM: What’s your team dynamic like?
HS: We are all looking to have a good time and are very excited to compete again. All of these athletes have thrived in their careers. We’re taking this very seriously because we want to win the money but there is a balance. Our email exchanges range from our specialties on the field to pictures of pet ducks and talks of long walks on the beach.
KM: What was your recruiting strategy?
HS: Going into this I knew I wanted some prior built personal relationships on my team to keep me grounded but I also wanted to meet new people. So I went 50/50. In regards to actual playing, I needed to make sure I had each line out there filled. We’ll have a competitive edge but we’re going to have fun. If a ball is whiffed, it's whiffed and we'll laugh.
KM: What will your team jerseys look like?
HS: Uniforms will be white shirts and black shorts – pretty plain Jane and easy but I wanted something that was comfy to play in. It goes with the whole mentality, “If you feel good, you play good too.”
KM: As a Certified Personal Trainer, what type of training have you advised to your players?
HS: I suggested they pick up a running program and get on the turf more. Maybe throw in a few biceps curls while they’re at it. We’ll be the buffest team out there – maybe push a few people around. [Laughs] Another perk of participating in this tournament is that those players who have had kids and such are forced to get back into playing shape.
KM: What will you do with your earnings if your team wins the 2013 Harrow Cup?
HS: As a team we haven’t talked about it. We’re just using those 10Gs as motivation. It can go a long way. For some girls who are traveling, it just might help them break even. I was thinking about the possibility of giving it to charity.
KM: Why is post-collegiate play personally important to you?
HS: Because all of our lives we’re on the field playing and when our careers finally come to an end we’re left with all of these emotions. Post-collegiate play is a testament the sport can grow. It shows the girls I coach I can still play and hey, I sort of know what I’m talking about. There is life after your career and that can consist of field hockey and still playing.