Kevin Rothbauer Citizen
After helping the Cowichan Secondary School Thunderbirds win the provincial championship last season, Brittany Smith is taking her field hockey skills to the east coast.
Smith, who played forward and midfield for the T-Birds team that claimed the provincial banner last fall, earned a scholarship to the University of Maine to play for the Black Bears this fall.
She plans to study kinesiology, with the possible goal of becoming an athletic therapist.
Smith admitted to feeling a little nervous about moving so far away.
“I’m kind of afraid to leave, but excited at the same time,” she said.
Smith played for one of B.C.’s three teams at the national U18 championships in Ontario late last month, her fifth trip to nationals. She was home for a short visit before heading off to Maine last weekend. Those national tournaments, along with others in the U.S., helped her catch the eye of the Black Bears.
“I went to festivals in the States, and the coach [of Maine] goes to nationals,” Smith explained.
Maine was ranked 17th out of 78 NCAA Div. 1 field hockey teams last season. The Black Bears had previously recruited Cowichan grad Zoe Berkey in 2010 and Smith’s older sister, Kim in 2014, but Smith said she didn’t factor that into her decision to play there.
“That didn’t have much of an effect on it,” she said.
Smith has played field hockey for seven years, and highlights so far include the championship she won with Cowichan Secondary last year, and a trip to Spain with the Vancouver-based Polar Bears touring team over the Christmas break.
“That was really fun,” she said. “We didn’t do too well, but we all had a great experience.”
Leaving the Cowichan Valley will be hard, but Smith knows she has a lot to look forward to.
“It’s a little sad,” she said. “I’ve been here so many years, but it’s a new beginning, so it’s exciting.”