With so many elite athletic programs and diverse extracurricular activities from which students can choose, sometimes it’s difficult to find a niche at Highland Park High School.
Yet a decade into its existence, the school’s field hockey club continues to grow — even though it gets a fraction of the support of fellow fall sports football or volleyball, and still doesn’t have a regulation field for home games or even practices.
(ABOVE: From left: Highland Park’s field hockey team captains Kathryn Walton, Racquel Pacewicz, Claire Kemble, and Maddie Ewers. Courtesy photo.)
However, that’s fine with HP head coach Nici Bremer, who is happy to teach a game that she played competitively for 13 years in her native Germany.
“We’ll just play with what we’ve got,” said Bremer, whose squad works out daily on a grassy space also used for Highlander Band practices, even though the game is played on turf.
The Scots have about 40 girls in the program at the varsity and junior varsity levels. As the only public-school program in the Dallas area, they take on more experienced private-school teams with feeder programs and more robust budgets. This fall, the team will travel to Austin for the first time.
Many of HP’s players have never picked up a curved stick when they join. Some don’t know the rules. That doesn’t matter to Bremer.
“Most of them don’t have experience. I don’t care,” she said. “Once they play, they kind of stick. Most of the girls want to continue.”
HP’s four team captains, for example, each migrated to field hockey after another sport wasn’t the right fit.
“Everyone starts at the same level, so it doesn’t matter if you’ve never played,” said senior Claire Kemble. “It’s really become more popular. A lot more people know we have a team.”
Bremer, who has lived in the Park Cities since 1999, was a founding member of the club as a parent before taking over as the coach a few years ago.
“I just love the sport and wanted to stay with it,” Bremer said. “It’s fun to see the development of the players. Our level of play is definitely going up.”
The highlight of HP’s schedule is its annual “Pink Out” game at Parish Episcopal, which raises money for breast cancer research. This year’s game is slated for Oct. 23.