Birmingham Marian 2014 graduate Catherine Schneider is taking her field hockey expertise to Central Michigan University. Photo by Mr. Mack Photography
August 21, 2014Catherine Schneider is focused and passionate about field hockey.
The 2014 Birmingham Marian High School graduate and Grosse Pointe Woods resident played multiple sports, but chose to center her attention on field hockey during her senior year.
"I like playing sports, but field hockey is my favorite, so I decided to really focus on that so I could try to get a scholarship," the 18-year-old Schneider said.
Her drive to succeed and her ability earned her offers from Ball State, Kent State and Central Michigan.
In the end, Schneider chose to play at Central Michigan for head coach Cristy Freese. She signed a letter-of-intent on National Signing Day.
Joining Schneider in her signing group at CMU were Kayla McClure of Mohnton, Pa., Giovanna Fasanello of Clarence, N.Y., Lily Amadio of Shavertown, Pa., Addison Marshall of Blooming Glen, Pa., Harriet Aburn of Wellington, New Zealand, Alexandra Gonda of Kingston, Pa. and Haley Bova of Palmyra, Pa.
"For me, Central was a great fit," Schneider said. "I love the campus, the program has a good head coach and the program is solid.
"I'm going to love it at CMU."
Ironically, she is the only player from Michigan on the Chippewa roster.
Schneider was a three-year starter and team captain her senior year on Marian's field hockey team.
She led the Mustangs to the state semifinals her junior year and was named to the All-Catholic Honor Team and First Team All-State her senior season.
Her first experience in field hockey came in middle school when she played in an instructional program in Grosse Pointe called SERF. It was run by Grosse Pointers Monica Dennis and Biffy Fowler.
The sport has gained popularity in Michigan and Schneider was part of that growth.
She made the USA Field Hockey Futures program in 2011 and is playing on Team Pinnacle. Head coach Nancy Cox, who was the University of Michigan women's field hockey coach, is at the helm of Pinnacle, a travel field hockey program emphasizing technical and tactical execution.
Schneider improved during her time with the high-level Pinnacle team and earned a spot on the prestigious U16, as well as U19 national squad. She played in the 2012 NFC Tournament in Virginia Beach.
She also played for the Fer De Lance Field Hockey Club out of Ann Arbor.
It is another high-level club which gives field hockey players more instruction.
"I played field hockey at Liggett and I enjoy the sport," Schneider's mom, Marge Schneider, said. "It's a joy to sit in the stands and watch Catherine play a sport we both love.
"I wouldn't want to be doing anything else and it's nice she will play closer to home so I can watch some of her games."
Schneider's first collegiate game is at home 3 p.m. Friday, Aug. 29, against the Maine Black Bears.
To prepare for the rigors of college field hockey, the 5-foot, 7-inch Schneider is completing summer workouts which include running, body circuit training, agility training and quick burst acceleration.
Her love of the sport means she is in field hockey mode 12 months a year.
However, she also gets it done in the classroom where she finished high school with a 3.5 grade point average.
"I'm glad I went to Marian," Schneider said. "The classes were tough, but overall I had a lot of fun and I learned a lot about how to manage my time. I'm going to have to really manage my time wisely at Central, but I know I can do it."
"Catherine will do great as a student-athlete at Central Michigan," Marge said. "It's a good school and good field hockey program."
Schneider reports to CMU Aug. 12 and the first day of class is Aug. 23.
She is majoring in graphic design.
"I'm a little nervous about starting college, but I will get into the swing of things in a hurry," she said. "Central isn't a huge campus and it was a great fit when I went for my visit. I'm looking forward to my college experience."