The field hockey team poses for a group photo

Over the fall season, the field hockey team at Presentation High School went from being a team with few wins to becoming the Santa Clara Valley Athletic League (SCVAL) El Camino Division Champions. It’s a momentous occasion that the team has worked hard all season to achieve.

“Most impressive was the team’s performance in a critical contest to clinch the league, then qualify to CCS (Central Coast Section of SCVAL), win its first-round CCS game in dramatic fashion, and finally compete with grit and determination against a perennial powerhouse on the round in its final game,” said Mike West, the Athletic Director at Presentation.

The Spirit of a Panther

In his second year at Pres, West has seen a noteworthy blend of new and returning talent on the field hockey team, guided by coaches who know what it means to be a Panther. West hears daily from officials, opposing coaches, other athletic directors, and fans about the remarkable sportsmanship and character of the Pres community.

West oversees all the athletic programs at Pres, and while field hockey isn’t as popular as some other sports, the students who do play it enjoy it. It’s an accessible sport that students find easy to pick up, and the camaraderie among teammates is infectious. Kat Kowalski ‘24, a current senior who has been on the field hockey team since her freshman year, has especially enjoyed playing during this season.

“I would be lying if I said I’m happy the season is over because I really loved playing on this team,” said Kat.

The field hockey team plays a game

A New Level of Determination

This season, in particular, Kat noticed a shift among the team toward having a genuine desire to win. The camaraderie and support on and off the field from coaches and other players, as well as this newfound determination, have helped the team become champions. Her teammates, Sofia Dombrowsky ‘24, a senior, and Micaela Barr-Gutierrez ‘25, a junior, had similar feelings that the team had a great culture and used this season to learn and grow beyond where they were able to in previous years. While Micaela had faith in this season’s team, the continued wins still came as a surprise.

“It was honestly shocking,” Micaela shared. “The experience felt so unreal, and I was proud of how far all of us came from our previous years.”

One of the most satisfying experiences for West as an athletic director is watching programs make progress each year. All of the teams work hard, and watching this team play at its potential brought him joy. While being on a winning team is great, West believes that high school sports are something everyone should experience.

“In my opinion, there’s nothing better than high school sports. The pride that is developed, the journeys that teams go on, and the representation of our school out in the community can be harnessed into something remarkable,“ said West.

An Emphasis on Athletic Achievement

Pres allows students to play on multiple sports teams, and students like Kat and Micaela take full advantage of this, as well as other on-campus opportunities. Kat serves as a campus ministry leader, an ASB officer, a member of the gardening club, fashion club, and film club, as well as playing basketball in the winter and lacrosse in the spring. Micaela is a member of the core team for Peer Ministry, is a part of the California Scholarship Federation, participates in lacrosse and wrestling at Pres, and plays club field hockey on the weekends.

“The culture at Pres to participate in and try as many things as possible is an opportunity I don’t think I could have had anywhere else,” said Kat.

The sports programs support each other, with teams attending each other’s games and creating a supportive and exciting environment for players. The athletics department faculty makes it evident that they want to see each player grow as an athlete and student. Kat hopes to continue her athletic career in college, where she plans to study dietetics and nutritional sciences. Micaela plans to pursue a degree in the medical field, while Sofia plans to study economics and hopefully continue to play field hockey.

Some students hesitate to play sports in school because they’re worried about balancing school work and team sports. While this can be challenging, Pres supports student-athletes on and off the field, providing the flexibility they need to succeed both in their studies and in sports. Students like Micaela find that the value athletics programs provide outweighs the challenges of juggling school work and athletics and that if she can do it, other students can, too.

“Don’t doubt what you’re capable of doing,” said Micaela. “The people you meet and the experiences you make are all worth it.”

How the Team Became Champions

When asked about how the field hockey team went from barely winning in previous years to becoming champions this fall, Kat believes determination and perseverance did the trick.

“In those challenging moments when we could have easily just given up, we pushed through and gave it our all every single game,” said Kat.

West has greatly enjoyed watching the team become champions this year and couldn’t help but give them a special shout-out.

“Thank you to the field hockey program for infusing our fall with such positive energy, it helped our other teams to feed off your success,” said West. “I love my job, and all the student-athletes and coaches make this a special place to serve as AD.”

Presentation has had a field hockey team since 2003, with the 2023 campaign being its first league championship since winning back-to-back league titles in 2018 and 2019. This team has provided a great example of what can be accomplished when young women work together toward a common goal. At our school, we encourage students to work together on and off the field to reach their full potential. Contact us today to learn more about why Pres might be the best fit for your student.