Hannah Prince got her first glimpse at what it would take to be a national field hockey star in 2008. She was attending a banquet for the U.S. Field Hockey Futures program when the U.S. women’s Olympic team was announced.
“In my eyes they were huge role models,” said Prince, a 2010 Gorham High graduate.
Now she’s on the way to being one of them. Prince was named to the U.S. women’s national field hockey team, one of the 30 players who will report July 14 to Lancaster, Pennsylvania, to begin training.
Eleven Olympians were selected to the team.
The announcement came Wednesday; Prince was told last Saturday during the U.S. women’s national tournament, which served as a tryout for the national team.
“I think it will be a big adjustment for me,” she said. “It’s like my full-time job now. My job is to wake up, play field hockey, train. Every day.”
Those who have watched Prince over the years aren’t surprised she reached this level. Prince was the Miss Maine Field Hockey selection in 2009, capping an outstanding career at Gorham. She’s performed on the national level since 2007, when she made the development select team.
And she just finished a four-year career at the University of Massachusetts, where she started 87 games and scored 37 points.
She had eight goals and 12 assists as a senior.
“I think the biggest thing, besides her talent, which is obvious, is her motivation and her drive,” said Becky Manson-Rioux, the Gorham High coach. “I had no doubt that she could go this far.
“Anything she can do to add to her skills and to perfect her skills is something that is in her. That’s her passion. She’s a great role model for my girls and my program.”
Prince had been hired as an assistant coach at Bryant University in Smithfield, Rhode Island, after she graduated from UMass. She spent much of this week getting ready to leave for the national team.
“It’s been too short of a time,” said Bryant Coach Shaunessy Saucier, an Old Town native and former University of Maine player. “But this is absolutely incredible for Hannah. She’s part of an elite group now. She’s such a hard worker that she’s deserving of that honor.”
A defender in college, Prince played that position in the national tournament, also moving up to the midfield.
She said Craig Parnham, the coach of the national team, told her he wanted her to learn both positions since the U.S. already has a strong, veteran defense.
“I feel comfortable with the coach and what he’s trying to do with the program,” she said. “He wants players who are selfless and have a warrior mentality. Those are things he actually said. I wrote them down. I can do that. That’s totally me.
“If I can just show I can play hard and I’m coachable, and really lay it all out there, I have a good chance of making it.”
While there are 30 players on the national team, the U.S. will only carry 16 to 18 on its game rosters when it travels to international tournaments, including the Olympics.
The U.S. had a strong 2013-14 season, finishing among the top four teams in the Rabobank Hockey World Cup in the Netherlands.
“People keep asking me about the Olympics,” said Prince, who has received continuous congratulatory calls and messages from her friends in Maine and at UMass. “It’s two years away, there are 30 girls on the team. They travel 16 to 18. That’s my ultimate goal right now, (to get on the roster) for the (international) tours throughout the year.
“For me, it’s like being a freshman again. I’m excited to learn everything they do here.”