Jenn White wasn't a star field hockey player at Schuylkill Valley. In fact, she never earned all-division status or even Honorable Mention.However, at Albright, the player, who wasn't recruited and walked-on to the team, made an immediate impression. During the last three seasons, White has scored 24 goals and dished out seven assists for the Lady Lions.
White was nominated for Rookie of the Year for the Commonwealth Conference. She also received Conference Player of the Week as a freshman for scoring the tying goal to send the game against Moravian to overtime. On a roll, she came through with the game-winner in overtime.
In wins over Richard Stockton and the College of Notre Dame of Maryland, White added one goal in each game to conclude her glorious week.
"At Schuylkill Valley, we had a lot of talented players who outshone me," said White, a 5-4, 20-year-old junior. "I wasn't recognized for my field hockey skills in high school, and Coach (Michelle) Hahn at Albright hadn't heard of me until I walked on."
Still, field hockey was always White's favorite sport even though she tried JV basketball for two years and competed for three years in varsity track.
"I went to field hockey camps at Lock Haven, East Stroudsburg and Elizabethtown with my (high school) teammates," said White, who was coached by Missy Hipps during her four years on the varsity at SV where she started for three years.
However, even though her SV field hockey career included trips to districts in her sophomore and junior years, White had doubts that she would continue playing. However, those close to her never stopped encouraging her.
"I had the support of my family and friends to come out for the college team," White said. "If it weren't for playing field hockey, I'd have a completely different lifestyle now." She'd have different friends and would be focusing on other interests if she weren't playing field hockey.
Over the past three years, Coach Hahn is certainly happy that White made the choice she did.
"Jenn has become one of our go-to players because her skill level and confidence are now greater," Hahn said. "This season, she is second on the team with 5 goals and 2 assists."
White became an impact player almost immediately at center forward, starting every game since her freshman season. This season, she's been moved to right wing.
According to Hahn, White's best game this season so far occurred against Misericordia. She scored the first goal and assisted on the fourth goal in a 5-4, close, back-and-forth match.
For a player who didn't set the world on fire at SV, White made her mark as a freshman at Albright by scoring a school record four goals in one game on Sept. 22, 2005 against Immaculata. She also tied the record for assists (3) against Marywood in 2005 as Albright won both games.
"I want Jenn to continue to be an impact player and a team leader on an off the field," Hahn said. "If she's intense and works hard, she should earn all-conference honors for the first time."
And White isn't the only athletic sibling in her family. Her sister, Amanda, a freshman at Pitt, made the intramural field hockey team, quite an accomplishment since there is no varsity field hockey team at the university.
Her brother, Adam, is a senior at East Stroudsburg. He played football, basketball and baseball at SV.
When White isn't playing field hockey, she works on campus at the Career Development Center. Her mother, Corinne, is an administrative assistant in the Degree Completion Program at Albright.
As a freshman, White commuted to the college, but made friends on the team quickly. Last year, she lived off campus with three senior teammates, and this year, she's living with one junior.
Despite enjoying the good times, White majors in business marketing and has a 3.2 cumulative GPA. Because she maintains a GPA of at least 3.0, she is a student-athlete recognized for Academic Honors.
White is one of four Berks products on the Albright field hockey team. Junior Brittany Rothermel from Muhlenberg is the starting sweeper, freshman Pamela Swope from Antietam is a forward and freshman Megan Mohring from Wilson is hurt at the moment, but will eventually contribute.
Even though White stayed in her backyard to go to college, she has no regrets.
"My Albright experience has been a positive one," White said. "I urge local students to consider it. Some overlook it because it's so close."
Although it's hard to believe, Jenn White almost didn't play college field hockey. Developing her field hockey game at Albright allowed White to live college life to the fullest and become a valued member of the Lions' program.
Nils Groten is a freelance writer and correspondent to the Hamburg Area Item. He can be contacted via e-mail through the sports editor at email@example.com.