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High School sports

Carrie Vosburg, who transformed Arundel field hockey into a state champion, resigns as coach after 10 seasons

Carrie Vosburg held a stoic expression as best she could as the first field hockey state championship banner in Arundel’s history was unveiled in the school’s gym Tuesday.

To claim that it was the greatest accomplishment in the coach’s 10 years with the program would likely be incorrect. At least to some of those who truly knew her, her truest accomplishments surpass one game, or even one season.

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If anything, the first Arundel field hockey state title was a product of Vosburg’s continued success that left a lasting impression on countless players. Vosburg stepped down from the post she’d held since 2012 last week.

“She demands the best from you, and it doesn’t matter what position you come from, she wants the best for everybody,” said Kathleen Sigwart, who served as Vosburg’s assistant.

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Joining Vosburg’s staff in 2020 was a “no-brainer” for Sigwart. The Seton Keough grad, instrumental in the Interscholastic Athletic Association of Maryland B Conference program’s rise to success in 2012, met Vosburg through club field hockey where she admired her coaching. They stayed connected, became friends, and when a spot opened, Sigwart flocked to her.

The truth of Vosburg’s role unfolded to her then. Not only did Sigwart see the way in which Vosburg dedicated herself to bettering the athletes’ stick skills, but their academics. She saw the dedication poured into hours unseen by the public, off the field. She saw Vosburg lend support to new coaches this past year when they needed guidance amid the confusing COVID restrictions. She saw Vosburg arrive at summer workouts every morning, despite the fact that Vosburg is fully employed externally from schools.

No one can obviously discount Arundel’s unexpected state title win, but it is just one of several noteworthy moments that happened under Vosburg’s hand.

In her first year in 2012, the Wildcats finished at .500. The next fall, Arundel improved to 12-5, then 13-4 in 2014. In 2015, Arundel moved into the top tier, where it remains to this day.

In 2018, Arundel marched to the region finals for the first time in 35 years. Its stellar season earned them a ranking by MAX Field Hockey for the first time. It improved to a top-20 spot in the renowned field hockey source’s rankings by 2019, journeyed to the National MAX Field Hockey Invitational and captured a county championship berth, the program’s first in 30 years.

But Vosburg was never satisfied to stop there. There always had to be something more Arundel could achieve.

The 2020 team boasted a fearless and talented senior class, seasoned by three years of work. But all they got was five games of spring play, all wins.

Broadneck athletic director Kevin Necessary, who previously served at Arundel, watched them. He knew, had there been a true season, Arundel would’ve won it all then, too.

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Vosburg had to rebuild around one starter and a team that needed to grow up fast. After an 0-6 start, they did.

“That line of thinking for Carrie, that constant thinking of, ‘How can we get better, what little move can I make?’ is what made the program great,” Necessary said.

As she looks back on her tenure, Vosburg remembers a cold Friday night in Towson, when Arundel vanquished ranked and unbeaten Notre Dame Prep for the very first time.

“That was such a huge win for us,” she said. “I remember the kids stormed the field afterward.”

There are several Notre Dame Prep-like victories. The first time the Wildcats beat Severna Park in history, also 2018. The first time they beat Broadneck in a decade, 2013, as well as the first time they beat South River in 14 years, also 2013.

“Lee Rogers, he hired me. I remember I ran into the gym so I could hug him and celebrate,” Vosburg said.

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Those accomplishments, from beginning to last November, were born of discipline.

Nikki Seven, a 2021 Arundel graduate who is now a freshman lacrosse player at Division I San Diego State, remembers how “hardcore” Vosburg’s high expectations of her were back when she was just a 14-year-old newcomer. With fondness, she remembers “horrifying” practices with endless running and hearing screams from the sidelines in games.

“She expects a lot of from all her players. For me personally, she had very high expectations as a player and as a person,” Seven said. “Luckily, I was able to overcome that and use that to my advantage and her expectations helped me grow. She was tough on me and that made me a better player.”

Mixed with that strictness was an equal portion of love. It wasn’t the cold, bitter expectation of someone just wanting results. Seven could always feel the earnestness behind every criticism, every demand. It’s what built an impenetrable bond between her class and Vosburg and what propels Seven now at the college level.

“The mental toughness that goes along with being able to not take anything too personally,” Seven said. “Taking that constructive criticism and being able to apply it on the field without having it affect who you are. She helped me see one moment doesn’t define me as a player.”

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Vosburg hailed from successful programs at Kent County High School in Chestertown and Millersville University. She absorbed the kind of structure and ferocity from coaches that came from honest care. It’s the style she applied to Meade between 2000 and 2004, when she rebuilt the Mustangs into a winning team.

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Necessary gleaned those qualities from Vosburg instantly. Then the associate athletic director at Arundel, he was heavily involved in the interviewing process. The passion and seriousness radiating from Vosburg made him think they found a gem.

When Necessary ascended to Arundel’s athletic director, he watched field hockey practice more.

“She really has a deep care for each and every one of her players. She’s always coming from a place of improving the individuals she’s got and Arundel field hockey at the same time,” Necessary said. “ … It’s something I learned to respect and admire about her.”

There are countless players Vosburg has helped continue their careers in college. This year’s Capital Gazette field hockey Player of the Year, Syracuse commit Lana Hamilton, is an obvious first one. But there are so many: Megan Mulherin, who went on to Holy Cross; Ally Pollak, who helped capture Delaware’s first NCAA national title as a starter; and many more.

Those reasons, even more so than the state banner, is why she was hired, Necessary said. Each player deserves credit for working hard to get to college, he said, but Vosburg created those doors for them.

“I don’t want to downplay winning a state title, but for me, I just want my kids to go on and be successful,” Vosburg said.


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