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Archive for January 8, 2019

Jan. 8, 2019 — The case for Tracey Fuchs

One in a series of posts laying out arguments for the greatest scholastic field hockey player of all time.

In June 2002, a group of American field hockey players huddled at the midfield stripe at a hockey-specific stadium in Birmingham, England. There were 35 minutes to go, and the United States was down 1-0 to India in the final game of a three-Test series. As the first two matches were drawn, the winner of the game would take the 12th and final berth in the FIH World Cup later that year.

The elder stateswoman of the team spoke up.

“We’re OK,” said Tracey Fuchs. “Let’s not stray too far off of what we need to do.”

Summoning up her guile and tenacity, she scored twice in a 12-minute span and spurred the States on to a 3-1 win.

Tracey Fuchs is the player who surpassed Maryanna Watson on the all-time scoring leader list with 171 goals. Much of this was thanks to her enormous 82-goal season in the fall of 1983.

Fuchs played primarily on grass pitches during her stellar scholastic career at Centereach (N.Y.), using a wooden stick much like the SportCraft model that could be found in any sporting-goods store in the Northeast U.S.

She would be called into the senior women’s national team in time for the 1988 Olympics, played in four World Cups and two Olympics. What distinguished her from her peers was her inner drive.

“She had a different mental makeup from anyone I have ever coached,” Centereach head coach Nancy Cole once told Long Island Newsday.

And it was a makeup that got the Americans into the 2002 World Cup after a 10,000-mile journey across four continents.