Hannah Clarke wasn’t sure she could play field hockey at Middlebury College when she arrived on the Vermont campus four years ago.

That notion seems almost silly now.

Clarke, a former three-sport standout at Falmouth High, is the second-leading scorer for Middlebury (13-2), which advanced to the New England Small College Athletic Association semifinals. And, said Coach Katherine DeLorenzo, she’s one of the team leaders.

“Hannah is one of the best athletes I’ve ever coached,” said DeLorenzo. “She’s our best all-around in terms of fitness, strength, agility … she’s our quickest forward. She’s a rock star in those areas.”

Pretty high praise for someone who was just trying to fit in as a freshman.

“When I was at Falmouth and said I wanted to play in college, people kind of asked me if I thought I could play here,” she said. “I think I surprised a lot of people. It was a surprise to me too.”

Clarke didn’t play much her first two seasons — only 14 games combined, scoring two goals as a sophomore — but moved into a starting position as a junior, getting five goals and one assist in 16 games.

This year, she has 12 goals and one assist and had an eight-game scoring streak snapped in the quarterfinals. That streak was no small feat, according to DeLorenzo.

“What (Lauren) Greer is doing is unreal,” said DeLorenzo of the team’s top scorer. “But if Lauren wasn’t on this team, then some of that recognition would go to Hannah.”

Clarke, a neuroscience major who plans on attending med school, said she simply earned her spot.

“I gained confidence as a freshman, but last year was really the first year I felt I was good enough to be in the position I was,” she said. “I just think I grew as a player.”

She grew so much, said DeLorenzo, that there is no doubt that Clarke is one of the team’s best players. She has improved in many areas, but mostly in her game knowledge.

“She has great vision,” said DeLorenzo. “She knows how to plan ahead. She knows how to think about the game from start to finish. Part of that is just age. She’s seeing things so many times that she knows the right things to do.”

She says Clarke has two personalities on the field: the deep attack finisher and the dogged defender. She has the ability to “chase and hunt down other people,” said DeLorenzo. And she has the skill to finish the play.

Clarke has also become a strong leader, simply because of her experience.

“Based on having to work really hard at the start of my career,” she said, “I feel I have something to say to other players who have to earn their playing time, too.”

After med school, she said life may lead her back to Maine. But she’s glad for all her experiences at Middlebury.

“It had everything I was looking for,” she said. “I became a completely different person.”

CREW

Adam Panzica of Freeport was a member of the WPI men’s collegiate four that finished 27th of 39 teams in the recent Head of the Charles Regatta. WPI finished in 19:04.62. Junior Alec Sirocki of Scarborough and freshman Jordan Stanhope of Falmouth are also on WPI’s roster.

•  The William Smith varsity eight women’s crew finished fifth of 29 crews in the Head of the Charles and was recognized as Liberty League Boat of the Week. Senior Tess Wiggins of Cape Elizabeth and sophomores Christine Reighley of Freeport (North Yarmouth Academy) and Katie Paige of Brunswick (NYA) are among the rowers.

CROSS COUNTRY

Bentley University junior Craig Robinson of Scarborough finished 26th overall at the recent Northeast-10 Conference championships, finishing the 8,000-meter course in Westfield, Mass., with a time of 25:38.78.

•  Sophomore Taylor Dundas of Bath (Cheverus) was the third finisher for the Brandeis University men’s team when it finished fifth in the recent Albany Invitational. Dundas was 37th overall with a time of 26:34.6. Sophomore Amelia Lundkvist of South Portland (Cheverus) was 54th overall with a time of 19:26.5 for the Brandeis women’s team, which finished 10th, second among Division III schools.

GOLF

Endicott College junior Jack Wyman of Falmouth finished third overall in the recent New England Intercollegiate Golf Championship at the Captains Course in Brewster, Mass. Wyman shot a 4-over 148 in the two-day, 36-hole event.

Thirty-five schools and 169 golfers from New England Division I, II and III schools competed. Endicott finished 11th. Sophomore Zach Golojuch of Saco (Thornton Academy) is also on the Endicott roster.

SOCCER

Senior defender Andi Logan of Eliot (Marshwood) and freshman midfielder Sarah Little of Scarborough are contributing to the success of Colby-Sawyer College’s women’s team.

The Chargers are 11-5-1, 7-0-1 in the North Atlantic Conference.

Logan, a captain, has started all 17 games and has two goals and one assist. Little has started four games and has one goal and three assists.

•  Senior back P.J. Burnette of Brunswick has six goals for the Southern New Hampshire University men’s team (13-2).

SWIMMING

Gettysburg (Pa.) College opened its season by sweeping Messiah in men’s and women’s competition, aided by local swimmers.

Senior Matt Libby of Freeport (Cheverus) won the 100 butterfly (52.60 seconds) on the men’s side while senior Kayte Demont (Cumberland, North Yarmouth Academy) won the 50 backstroke (30.35) on the women’s side. Libby was also part of two winning relay teams.

TENNIS

Endicott freshman Natalie Egbert of Gorham helped the Gulls win the Commonwealth Coast Conference championship.

Egbert finished 12-0 in singles and 10-4 in doubles. She was 10-0 at No. 5 singles and moved up to 2-0 at No. 4. 

Staff Writer Mike Lowe can be contacted at 791-6422 or at [email protected]

Twitter: MikeLowePPH