RYE, N.Y. Once Rye's Annie Van Wagenen picked up a field hockey stick, she knew what sport she would play in college.
Having two older sisters Charlotte and Rachel as standout field hockey players at Rye only further cemented the senior's desire to play at the collegiate level.
Not only will Van Wagenen continue with field hockey, she will do so at Williams College in Massachusetts, where Charlotte, a 2008 graduate, played. And she will be joined by her cousin, Kara Sperry, a Greenwich Academy senior.
"Watching my sister play in college further inspired me," Van Wagenen said. "Playing with my cousin is going to be exciting and so much fun that we are going to be together. She is so much fun to be around."
Van Wagenen, who helped lead Rye to the Section 1 Class B final, was an all-state selection last fall. A center midfielder with a cannon of a drive, she enjoyed going to Williams for her sister's games. Listening to her sister discuss her experiences at Williams led Van Wagenen to look into Williams, Middlebury, Tufts and Bowdoin, all schools in the New England Small College Athletic Conference.
"I saw how much Charlotte loved it, and I wanted to experience it as well," she said "In sixth grade, we had to write a letter to ourselves, in school, and I wrote that I wanted to go to Williams and play field hockey."
As excited as Van Wagenen was about Williams, one family member was even more thrilled. "Charlotte was probably more excited than I was," Van Wagenen said with a laugh.
Van Wagenen has an advantage over her fellow incoming freshmen. She knows Williams field hockey coach Alix Barrale from her sister's career.
"I had also gone to some camps at Williams so she knew who I was," Van Wagenen said. "When I spoke to her, the coach said she feels I can come in and be a strong help in the midfield. That gave me a good impression and made me feel really proud."
Midfield keeps it all in the family. That's the same position Van Wagenen's sister played at Williams.
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