By Ronald Hanaki
Last November, ESU’s field hockey team won the NCAA Division II Championship for the first time in the program’s history. The team was led by captain and senior center-back Amanda Wnorowski.
Wnorowski started to play field hockey in middle school. She continued to play the sport in high school where she played midfield and defense.
In her later high school years, she decided that she wanted to continue to play field hockey at the collegiate level.
Wnorowski revealed that she sent ESU field hockey head coach Sandy Miller a video. That led Miller and the coaching staff to watch Amanda play in high school.
“Amanda was smooth,” said Miller. “I thought this kid’s smooth, and she plays with composure. There is a lot of ability and potential that I see in that young lady.”
“She was also very smart. She was a good student and a good athlete. That makes for good people. She fits what we look for in an ESU field hockey player.”
“Katie [Assistant Coach Katie Ord] and I saw a lot of raw talent in her. She is an unbelievable defender for us and a captain and a great leader. She does a lot of stuff for us on the field and off the field,” said Miller.
“A big reason I came to ESU was the athletics. Division II athletics was the perfect medium. It wasn’t too demanding, and there was the competitive aspect. It was the perfect balance between athletics and academics. It keeps me on a tight schedule and focuses me to stay in line and going to practice and getting my work done,” said Wnorowski.
In addition to her outstanding athletic accomplishments, Wnorowski is a model student. She is an applied mathematics major with a finance concentration and wants to be an actuary.
“Math came easy to me. I want to be in the corporate world. It’s challenging, but I think it will be worth it,” explained Wnorowski.
Needless to say, Wnorowski is career-oriented, and she has already gotten an early start to her high-flying corporate career. She used to work for Becton Dickinson in the tax department.
Wnorowski also loves to travel. Last spring, she received an opportunity to spend her semester abroad in Australia.
“I talked to my mom about doing study abroad. I thought to myself, ‘Am I ever going to have the time to do it with field hockey?’ But the opportunity came last spring,” said Wnorowski.
“It was a five-month experience abroad in Australia where I got to meet new people,” explained Wnorowski. “It was a life-changing experience. I wanted to go, and head coach [Sandy] Miller let me.”
“I wanted a different experience and knew the language. I speak Polish but wanted to travel at a separate time with my family,” said Wnorowski.
“So Australia was great,” she continued. “When else will I have the time to do this? It was a once in a lifetime opportunity that I had to jump on.”
“The time difference was the biggest issue,” said Wnorowski. “But it was nice. When I got there, it was still summer.”
“I lived a half-hour bus ride from Bondi Beach in the center of Sydney. I got to see a lot of things. Hopefully, I will get to go back again,” said Wnorowski.
She even developed a new fondness for a unique Australian delicacy called vegemite. She said, “At first, I hated it, but vegemite grew on me.”
Wnorowski said, “I didn’t play field hockey, but I joined a gym and trained every day in the offseason.
As for her classes, Wnorowski said, “I took a math course and an econ course to go toward my econ minor. It was very different because it was a huge school in a big city. The midterm and final were the only grades. The smallest class I took had eighty students.”
Prior to the start of the season, Miller assigned a book for her players to read called “The Energy Bus: 10 Rules to Fuel Your Life, Work, and Team with Positive Energy” by Jon Gordon.
Wnorowski said, “It’s not sport-based but about life in general. As corny and as goofy as it was, it was helpful. You need to push yourself and need to have that positive energy. It all depends on you. You need to make something out of your life, and I enjoyed the book. It was good for the whole team to read it.”
Looking back on her field hockey career at ESU, Wnorowski said, “Being part of the team is one of the best decisions that I ever made. It’s like being part of a family. I also made the best friends.”
“After graduation, I am going to travel abroad with my mom in Europe,” said Wnorowski.
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