Tuesday, March 02, 2021

Sports

Hartmann Earns Her Stripes with the Tigers

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Senior captain Grace Hartmann finished her career with Hand field hockey by garnering her second-straight All-Conference honor this year. Photo courtesy of Grace Hartmann

Senior captain Grace Hartmann finished her career with Hand field hockey by garnering her second-straight All-Conference honor this year. (Photo courtesy of Grace Hartmann )

Grace Hartmann was one of seven captains who led the Hand field hockey team this season, and the senior midfielder made her presence felt both on and off the pitch for the Tigers.

Grace started playing field hockey in the 7th grade, when a group of friends encouraged her to try out for the team at Polson Middle School. Now a senior at Hand, Grace has created strong bonds with her teammates through the years and enjoyed every second of her time with the Tigers.

“Hands down the team is my favorite aspect of field hockey,” says Grace. “Each year I have played, there has always been such strong team chemistry between the girls and coaches. It’s really amazing.”

After advancing to the Class M state final last year, Grace and her teammates had big expectations for the 2020 campaign. Hand wound up turning in a solid season that saw the squad finish with an overall record of 8-4. Competing in the Southern Connecticut Conference’s Division B Tournament, the Tigers earned a 2-0 win versus Sheehan in the quarterfinal round before taking a 2-1 loss to Guilford in the semifinals.

Of Hand’s eight victories, Grace’s favorite came when the Tigers notched a Senior Night triumph over Mercy by a 4-0 score on Oct. 28.

“Senior Night was the highlight of this entire season. It was amazing to see all the parents and underclassmen work hard to make our night so special,” Grace says. “Even with so many guidelines and safety precautions we needed to stay aware of, the night was everything the seniors imagined. On that night, we not only won our game, but we were able to celebrate together as a team, sharing laughs and stories, and it was amazing.”

Head Coach Sue Leckey has seen Grace make some nice strides during the past four years. After earning All-SCC and All-State honors in her junior year, Grace secured a spot on the All-SCC Division B Team this fall.

“As a sophomore, Grace created excitement and havoc up front on offense and converted on several opportunities. As a junior, she had the game-winning goal and was a significant contributor in our postseason play,” says Leckey. “This senior season, although a strange one, was Grace’s most successful. On the field, she was dominant and, in so many ways, provided some key leadership we needed to realize a great and memorable season.”

Grace credits Coach Leckey with helping develop her field hockey skills. Grace also views Leckey as a person to whom she can go with any issue in any circumstance.

“It is really hard to describe the type of relationship I have with Coach Leckey in just a few words,” Grace says. “She has taught me everything I know and has really seen me grow so much the last four years in this program. Our relationship goes beyond field hockey. She really is someone I can count on for anything anytime I need something.”

In addition to playing field hockey, Grace is also a member of the Hand softball team. When she isn’t playing sports, Grace enjoys spending time with her family and friends, while also making a difference in her community.

Grace isn’t 100-percent sure if she is going to play field hockey in college, but plans to make the most of the experience on way or the other.

“Although the Daniel Hand community has given me amazing opportunities, outside of school, I have been a part of many Special Olympics teams and groups that have brought me so much happiness,” Grace says. “I am looking forward to being able to continue this throughout college and my future. I’m not sure where I will be attending college next year, but I am very excited to see where I end up. I am still making the decision about continuing my athletic career at the collegiate level, but I plan to participate in many activities.”


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