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Going for gold in Glasgow

Oak Bay’s Maddie Secco, right, suits up for the national field hockey team to play in the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, Scotland  this month. - Wilfred Lach photo
Oak Bay’s Maddie Secco, right, suits up for the national field hockey team to play in the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, Scotland this month.
— image credit: Wilfred Lach photo

Last November, Maddie Secco was named to the conference and regional all-star teams for her part in the Stanford Cardinals exceptional National Collegiate Athletic Association Div. 1 season.

Secco was named to the All-Region Second Team by regional members of the National Field Hockey Coaches Association.

One of Stanford’s best stickhandlers, Secco helped run the team’s powerful offence, which outscored opponents 57-19 during the season.

Secco earned the award despite missing three of the team’s 21 games to compete with Team Canada at the Pan American Cup last fall, helping Canada win bronze.

 

The slide from soccer into field hockey keeps proving to be a wise decision Maddie Secco made as a teen.

“I kind of grew up loving soccer and then, halfway through high school, I realized there are a lot of cool opportunities with field hockey. I discovered I loved it when I started putting more time into it,” said the Oak Bay High grad of 2012.

This month, the 20-year-old competes with Team Canada at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, Scotland.

“I’m very excited to represent my country. Since I was a little girl I’ve dreamed of representing Canada,” Secco said. “I’ve never been to a major Games before so I’m excited to be a part of the atmosphere and live in the village.”

Over the few weeks since completing her second year studying human biology and winning awards with the hockey team at Stanford University, Secco’s worked and trained almost daily with the team on the Lower Mainland.

To get the feel of the competition they’ll face, the national team already made a trip to Europe in the spring.

“We did a tour to England at the end of May,” Secco said. “We got to play four test games against the English national team and three against the Welsh team.”

The team took advantage of a pre-Games tour, where they faced some teams they’ll see in the tournament before they moved into the athletes village a few days in advance of the opening ceremonies held July 23.

“The Commonwealth Games are a significant milestone in any athlete’s career,” said Coach Ian Rutledge. “While we have a significantly youthful team, I have always been impressed by the group’s ability to continually rise to the occasion and showcase their talents against some of the best teams in the world.”

Secco, a high-scoring midfielder, uses her early years devoted to soccer as an asset.

“Playing both sports simultaneously helped me with my game awareness and being able to read the game,” she said. “I think I bring pretty good vision and a high level of fitness. Field hockey is a really fast-paced sport so that’s really important.”

Her parents will make the trek overseas, adding to the excitement. “They don’t get to come to a lot of things just because we do a lot of travelling,” she said. Secco plans to throw some support of her own behind the other athletes, perhaps taking in netball, though Canada’s not sporting a team this Games.

“Of course there’s the men’s Canadian field hockey team there, so we hope to cheer them on as well,” she said.

Canada fields a team of 267 athletes and close to 100 coaches and support staff this year, it’s the largest team ever fielded for a non-home Games. The Games continue to Aug. 3 with scores online at glasgow2014.com.

 

 

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