Evan Munsing, 20, a power lifter who placed third at this year's Keystone Games said although he was a standout field hockey player, lifting is his true passion. Hockey, though, led him to lift.He began to play field hockey in the fifth grade at a local camp, and he was soon hooked.
In seventh grade, he first played for an all-men's team, the Washington D.C. club, the Mavericks.
After seventh grade, Evan played with a number of men's teams at different tournaments. In 10th grade, for the first time he signed on to play more or less full-time with one team.
"I was playing with the D.C. Metros in the North American Premier League (NAPL), an indoor league at that time comprised of the top teams and players from DC, New York, Boston, Philadelphia and Montreal," Evan said.
According to Evan's father, Peter Munsing, Evan did well in high school field hockey because he practiced dribbling on and off the field, all-year round.
Evan improved his conditioning from the strength and training class taught by Frank Ferrandino at Wyomissing Area HS. The most important thing Evan learned from coach Ferrandino was not only to focus on increasing his strength in a few basic core lifts, but also to supplement these movements with other auxiliary lifts. This has been useful in both hockey and power lifting for Evan.
"He loved hockey as much as the kids who dribble basketballs everywhere love basketball and do well because of the practice that follows," Mr. Munsing said.
"Evan has always been a very disciplined athlete. At college, he put in 12,000 miles his freshman year at Simon's Rock driving to field hockey practices and games."
Simon's Rock was a great experience for Evan because he was immediately immersed in a very intense academic environment that put a great emphasis on teaching and professor-student interaction.
All of his courses there involved a great deal of writing and academic freedom that gave him the opportunity to experiment with different styles of ideas that he otherwise might never have known.
"When I went to the London School of Economics, I had a very solid academic base from which to work and knew a lot of the nuances of academic work, which was important as the LSE puts much less emphasis on teaching and more on research," Evan said.
When Evan graduates from the LSE in July 2009, one might think his competitive athletic career would be over, but that won't be the case.
"Hell no! This is just the beginning," Evan said. "As John Paul Jones said, 'I have not yet begun to fight." It is entirely likely that I will be doing some coaching alongside my playing. I enjoy coaching, and it's a good way to keep one's hand in the sport as well as earning some extra money.'"
Evan admits he's temporarily retired from field hockey since he has taken up the sport of power lifting with a passion.
"I had been lifting weights more or less since I was thirteen in order to stay in condition for hockey, and I gradually began to think that I might be a better lifter than I was a hockey player," Evan said.
"I also was beginning to want to get into an individual sport in which I would have control of the greater part of my training and competition."
Evan's weight training has been ongoing for the last seven years, but he only started focusing particularly on weightlifting as a sport for about nine months now.
Before this, field hockey was Evan's primary sport, although he somehow managed to play center midfield for the Simon's Rock soccer team in 2004 and 2005.
"I have no idea how I found time to do that as well as I was training around 20 hours a week, but it was good fun," Evan said.
Evan's first weightlifting competition took place on July 26, 2008 at York, Pa. He lifted in the 220-pound weight class after having cut down from 237 pounds over about two weeks and finished third.
"I think the highlight was meeting a lot of really nice people," Evan said. "I train by myself and don't know many weightlifters, so it was great to finally meet people in the same sport although it was a little weird being one of the smaller people in the room for once."
Of course, when he played with and against girls in field hockey at Wyomissing HS, Evan would never have been mistaken for one of the more finesse players.
"I am proud of the fact that I did something that very few people have done or would have had the stones to do and then made it to the US team and had opportunities to play and coach all over the world," said Evan of his field hockey experience at various levels.
Now, however, since the summer of 2007, Evan has been involved in power lifting, a non-Olympic sport in which one competes using the bench, dead-lift and squat.
"This was a very big decision for me, as it meant that I would at the least have to put hockey on the backburner for a while, if not give it up competitively," Evan said.
"The decision was prompted because I stopped having fun playing hockey. I suppose one could say that I just burnt out, but it also involved getting tired of the politics of playing a team sport as well as a growing sense that I wasn't really where I wanted to be."