Former River Hill field hockey players Pauline Shih (center) and Katie Woolls (right) are featured on the cover of this year's NFHS Field Hockey Rules Book. (Submitted Photo / September 1, 2013)
It was right there, under the nose of our faces. How could so many people not have noticed?
But sometimes hiding in plain sight is the best place.
Here’s a hint of what was overlooked: it’s on the cover of the National Federation of State High School Associations’ 2013-14 field hockey rule book. Granted, that book is in far fewer homes than the Yellow Pages.
On a quick glance, the cover shows three hockey players all sporting captains’ bands and moving to the ball. Two of the players are in white shirts.
On closer inspection, those two players are wearing River Hill jerseys.
The county coaches received the rulebook at their annual fall meeting. Officials have been studying the book and several groups of current players, including a couple at River Hill, have copies as well.
But, so anxious to get to the rules inside, no one said, “Oh, look!”
And that includes River Hill coach Shelly Chamness.
“I threw my [rule] book in my bag and didn’t even notice until it was pointed out. Then it was, oh, my gosh, that’s Pauline and Katie,” she said.
Chamnesss is referring to 2012 graduates Pauline Shih and Katie Woolls.
The other girl in the photo is from Patterson Mill, a team River Hill played against in its first game of the 2011 season.
“Actually, my club teammate told me I was on the cover of some rulebook a couple of weeks ago because her mom is the coach at Urbana High School,” Shih wrote in an email.
But Shih had no idea it was a national publication.
The NFHS says the photo is courtesy of the Maryland Public Secondary Schools Athletic Association.
Shih speculates, as does Woolls, that the picture was taken by teammate Caroline Bird’s mother, Susie.
“Ms. Bird took a lot of action pictures for all four years,” Shih wrote.
Woolls remembers seeing the photo in the River Hill school newspaper, courtesy of Susie Bird.
“I had no idea I would ever end up on a magazine (cover) or a rulebook,” Woolls wrote in an email. “I am definitely going to try to find a copy now though.”
Shih plans to ask her mother to track down a copy of the rulebook.
Both Shih and Woolls are still involved in field hockey. Shih plays for Miami University of Ohio. On Aug. 30, the RedHawks twice led 18th-ranked Wake Forest before losing, 3-2, on a late goal.
Woolls spent her freshman year at the University of Virginia and played club field hockey there. The UVa club team came in second in the national club tournament last year.
Woolls has transferred to Villanova and plans to try out for that school’s club hockey team.
Both Shih and Woolls have fond memories of playing for River Hill.
“I will always remember winning the state championship in 2010 and then the next season in 2011 as a captain with Pauline,” Woolls wrote. “Many of my best friends from home were those that I made while on the field hockey team at River Hill.”
Shih calls the state championship her “greatest high school memory.”
“It was so unexpected and we just kept winning playoff games and all of a sudden we were at the championship,” she wrote.
Shih added that there is a big difference between playing on a high school team and a college team.
“I think one of the biggest things I miss about high school hockey was just how fun it was. It was so stress-free and it was my way of relaxing after a long school day. College hockey, especially DI hockey, is very competitive and although I still love the sport, it is pretty stressful at times with so many practices.”
Woolls is studying mechanical engineering at Villanova. Shih is studying zoology and hopes to attend veterinarian school after graduation.