When she was an eighth-grader, Sarah Hatfield was able to learn the ins and outs of the game of field hockey while serving as a manager for Eastern View’s varsity squad.

“After being the manager and seeing the game up close, I fell in love with it,” Hatfield said.

The rest, as they say, is history. Hatfield has earned numerous accolades over the last four years, including eclipsing the 100-goal milestone in her career and helping the Cyclones reach the state tournament three seasons in a row.

On Wednesday night, Hatfield celebrated her biggest achievement yet, signing a national letter of intent in front of family, friends and teammates to continue her field hockey career at Division I VCU next year.

“This means a lot because all the work I‘ve put in has given me the opportunity to play at the highest level,” Hatfield said. “It’s been a lot of road trips and a lot of weekends spent in Williamsburg and Virginia Beach. I knew that I’d have to outwork people who’ve been playing longer than me, and I’m very proud of how hard I had to work for this.”

The gravity of the accomplishment was apparent as Hatfield got a little emotional while thanking her family during the celebratory dinner at Luigi’s in Culpeper.

“The support from my family has meant so much to me,” she said. “They have always been there for me and by my side on all my field hockey trips. They’ve been great role models and have pushed me to be where I am today. I can always count on them and will always have their support.”

Hatfield’s parents, Greg and Susie, both expressed great pride in their daughter’s accomplishments.

“It’s very exciting,” Susie said. “We’re excited for her that all of her hard work has paid off, and we can’t wait to see what she does at VCU.”

Greg agreed.

“I’m excited because Sarah is a grinder,” he said. “A lot of people get to see her success when she plays in games, but she’s done a lot of work behind the scenes as well, from staying after practice to put in extra work and traveling to Williamsburg and Virginia Beach to play high-quality opponents in the offseason to get better. We tell our kids that hard work pays off, and I’m so proud to see her hard work pay off.

“It’s fun to watch her play,” he added. “The really cool thing is how many state tournament games she’s played in field hockey-wise and how intense and fun those games are. That’s a credit to our program here in regards to how hard coaches [Peggy] Allen and [Marianne] Bretschneider have worked with her, pushed her and let her grow.”

Eastern View (15-6) plays Lee-Davis (17-3) at 3:30 p.m. on Friday in the Class 4 state semifinals. A victory would advance the Cyclones to the state title game for the third consecutive year.

Regardless of the outcome of Friday’s matchup, it’s safe to say Hatfield has made a lasting impression on the Cyclones’ program.

“Playing at Eastern View has been awesome,” Sarah said. “I’ve really connected with both Coach Allen and Coach B, and I’ve made lifelong friends. Some people go their whole career and don’t get to play in any championship games, and I’m very fortunate to play in championship games every year.”

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