Jill Remenapp has been on the Century field hockey varsity for four years. Last year, as a junior, she surprised everyone by becoming the leading point scorer in Carroll County, putting in 14 goals and handing out 20 assists.
This year, she is continuing her role as the “field general” from her center-midfield position, but while her team is off to a 5-0 start, she is shifting gears and learning the joy of handing out assists instead of scoring the goals herself.
“Last year, she sent so many balls to goal, and none of them got tapped in,” Century coach Terry Wilkinson said. “This year, we have a more veteran team and she’s moving her teammates around and getting assists.”
This season, she has one goal and six assists in five games.
When Remenapp first appeared on the scene, opposing players looked at her size and wrote her off, much to their chagrin. Remenapp is short, 5 feet 3, and she doesn’t look like a sprinter, but Wilkinson said her height “definitely helps, because she’s low to the ground. She’s like a bulldozer going down the field, and she’s capable of carrying the ball end to end.”
Remanapp has a 3.7 grade-point average and will attend Denver next year on a lacrosse scholarship.
QUESTION: You’re a two-sport athlete. Which came first, field hockey or lacrosse?
ANSWER: Lacrosse. I’ve been playing it since first grade. My dad played lacrosse, and he coached me all these years. He’s still doing it.
Q: What’s the most important thing he’s taught you?
A: That you have to play with heart. You can’t get down.
Q: Why do you like it?
A: I just loved it from the beginning. It’s a game of momentum. Anything can happen, and it takes a huge team effort to win.
Q: How did you get involved with field hockey, and why do you like playing it?
A: I played soccer up to fourth grade, when I broke my arm. I never wanted to play soccer after that, and my best friend, Raleigh Covey, played field hockey. In sixth grade, she talked me into playing. The game came really easy to me. It’s like lacrosse in communications and working as a team, but the games are totally different. I think I liked it because it came easy, and that made me enjoy it.
Q: When did you become a goal scorer?
A: Last year. I might have had one goal my sophomore year. I took a lot of people by surprise by playing so offensively. I’m quicker than I am fast. You have to take advantage of being smaller and of being quicker. I have the ability to move around people quicker with my first couple of steps. But I do have speed. I’m not slow, and my stickwork definitely helps me out a lot.
Q: Has it been difficult for you to go from leading scorer to the role you have this year, directing the team and setting up your teammates?
A: Not at all. Our first line is doing a lot better and our midfield is being strong, sending the ball into the circle. Midfielders don’t usually score that many points like I did last year. It’s not disappointing. At first I felt like I was letting the team down. But I can’t be out there feeling I’m not contributing. Now I’m like — send it in and let other people score. That’s my usual role in lacrosse, too. I’m helping everyone else, even if I’m just getting it down the field.
Q: Whom do you admire most?
A: Gail Taylor, our head coach last year. She’s definitely the reason I’m where I am. Just her believing in me my freshman year. I would have been just fine with junior varsity, but when she told me halfway through tryouts I’d be on the varsity, I nearly passed out. And when halfway through preseason practice she told me I’d be starting at center-mid, I nearly passed out again.
Q: At age 17, what is your biggest worry?
A: Just to be happy. I just want to be happy in life. When I graduate from college, I want to have a job. That’s a worry.