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Warwick players compete at National Futures Emrhein gets taste of Jr. National camp
For Warwick rising juniors Marleise Emrhein, Noelle Kephart and Jamie Martin, the summer has no doubt been a blur.
Shortly after the school year ended, Kephart (U19) and Martin (U16) competed in the National Futures Championships, held June 20-26 at the Virginia Beach Training Center. They were among the top 12 percent of athletes in the USA Field Hockey’s Futures program who earned that opportunity.
Emrhein, meanwhile, was one of just 120 U19 athletes across the country who were selected for the Futures Elite Championships – the top level of the Olympic Development pipeline – which were held June 20-25 at Old Dominion University.
From there, Emrhein was named to the Junior National U17 Camp from June 26-28, which was also held at ODU. That camp is the selection venue for the top 100-plus athletes in the Olympic pipeline in the U21, U19 and U17 age divisions. Approximately 30-35 athletes per age group are invited to Junior National Camp from the National Futures, Futures Elite Championships and U21 Championships.
"The summer’s been crazy," Emrhein admitted, "but it’s been a lot of fun. I’ve enjoyed it a lot … I definitely think I can hold my own. I felt like I belonged there. I feel that I have improved a lot since last year’s hockey season. I have learned a lot more.
"You constantly have to work hard," she said, "and even if there’s a bump in the road, you have to keep going … You can’t give up."
Her goal was to be selected to the U.S. Junior National U17 team. Unfortunately, however, it wasn’t meant to be. Only 23 players were selected to that squad this year.
"I was very disappointed. I was crushed," said Emrhein, who celebrated her 16th birthday in April. "I was really hoping that I would be able to train with the Junior National team over the winter and possibly be selected from that group of girls to tour overseas in the spring. I was really hoping that I would be able to be a part of that, but there’s always next year … I’m going to be the young one for U19 next year, but yet I think I’m going to grow as a player and hopefully I can make it next year. I’m going to keep working hard."
That hard work certainly paid off for both Emrhein and Martin, who were selected for Junior Olympics, which are currently being held from July 30 to Aug. 3 in Ann Arbor, Mich. at the University of Michigan.
Those two also competed at the Junior Olympics last year in Houston, Texas. Athletes are selected to JO from Futures Elite and the NFC Tournament.
"It was huge honor (to get picked for Junior Olympics)," Emrhein said. "I was in the top 33 U17 athletes in the nation, so it was a great honor. I was thrilled to be there."
Emrhein and her Warwick teammates are hoping for many more thrills this fall as they look to make some noise in the L-L League and then in the playoffs.
"I’m very excited," Emrhein said. "We have a lot of juniors. I think we’re going to be good."
More FUTURES, page B-6