Carrie Hanks contributing in big way for Maryland field hockey

Carrie Hanks competes in a recent game for the Maryland field hockey team. Hanks is from Niskayuna. (Photo courtesy University of Maryland Athletics)Carrie Hanks competes in a recent game for the Maryland field hockey team. Hanks is from Niskayuna. (Photo courtesy University of Maryland Athletics)

Gazette Sportswriter

COLLEGE PARK, Md. — Her freshman season with the University of Maryland field hockey team was something of a blur for Carrie Hanks. The Niskayuna product and Silver Warriors alumna started every game for the Terrapins in 2014, playing through the thick and the thin of the team’s 19-4 campaign that included a stint as the No. 1 team in the nation and a trip to the NCAA tournament’s quarterfinals.

This fall, the sophomore is still in the starting lineup each game for Maryland, but things are slowing down around her.

“I was definitely a lot more nervous last year,” Hanks said. “This year, I’m still nervous, but more in a way where I am excited.”

Those freshman nerves mostly came from pressure Hanks put on herself. A Section II standout for four years with Niskayuna High School before graduating in 2014, Hanks arrived at Maryland as a prized defensive recruit who had played with United States national teams since 2012. Terrapins associate head coach Dina Rizzo said it was clear to the Maryland staff that it had a player in Hanks from the moment she stepped onto campus.

“Her skills are some of the tops on the team, technically, and so is her knowledge of the game,” Rizzo said.

Carrie Hanks. Photo Courtesy of University of Maryland Athletics

Carrie Hanks. Photo Courtesy of University of Maryland Athletics

Now, her confidence is catching up to her ability.

“[Last year], she was definitely one to get down on herself and a show a lack of confidence in her freshman year because she’s such a competitor and she wanted everything perfect all the time,” said Rizzo, who represented the United States in field hockey at the 2008 Olympics in Beijing. “She’s been able to grow in the mental aspect of the game this year.”

Hanks, a journalism major, said she started to feel more comfortable with her new team and surroundings toward the end of her freshman campaign.

“All the coaches and veterans here really helped me adjust,” Hanks said.

That aspect has not changed during her sophomore year at Maryland, where the school’s field hockey team was 11-3 through its first 14 games and ranked No. 8 in the country. Her teammates, Hanks said, are her best friends in College Park, and the team’s camaraderie is at a sky-high level this season.

“I like the way our team sticks together,” Hanks said. “We have a lot of fun personalities on this team. We all get along and enjoy hanging out.”

The Terrapins are hoping to stay together as long as possible this season. After an early-season three-game losing streak, Maryland responded with nine consecutive wins through a 1-0 win against Penn State on Oct. 9.

On the strength of that winning streak, Maryland was ranked No. 8 going into that game and Hanks is a major reason for that.

“She’s really evolved over one year’s time,” Rizzo said.

Heading into today’s game against Old Dominion, Niskayuna’s Carrie Hanks had played in 37 games between her freshman and sophomore campaigns with the University of Maryland field hockey team. Here is a look at Hanks’ time with the Terrapins:

  • 37: Starts made
  • 30: Team wins
  • 16: Points scored
  • 6: Goals scored
  • 4: Assists registered

About the Author

Michael Kelly
Michael Kelly is a sports reporter for Your Clifton Park and Your Niskayuna, weekly print publications of The Daily Gazette. Kelly grew up in Clifton Park and graduated from Shenendehowa High School in 2006. He is also a 2010 graduate of the Stony Brook University School of Journalism. Kelly's work has been honored by the New York News Publishers Association, the New York State Associated Press Association, and the Associated Press Sports Editors. His work has previously been featured in The (Amsterdam) Recorder, The Saratogian, and Albany Times Union.