By Melanie Petrucci, Senior Community Reporter
Shrewsbury – Seventh- and eighth-grade girls who attend Oak Middle School had a new opportunity in competitive sport this fall. Jay Costa, athletic director at Shrewsbury High School, expanded the athletic program at the school by adding girls’ field hockey. The team finished its inaugural season undefeated.
“Unlike many sports, such as soccer for example, field hockey has very few community or club programs at this age level and therefore a lot of athletes are not exposed to the sport until high school,” Coach Cailin Flannery said. “There are many schools that are now starting it as a middle school program and this truly sets the girls up for success at the higher levels.”
“I came into the program wanting to have a positive impact on the girls and also play at a level that would lead them to success at the higher levels. This team always had fun but more importantly they all wanted to learn and they got along with each other. This team just clicked,” Flannery noted.
She said that she could not have asked for a better group of girls for her first year as a coach. They taught her as much as she hopes she taught them.
Flannery, who is from Boxborough, comes with at least 10 years of playing experience starting with her high school team, the Acton-Boxborough Colonials, and then in college at Washington and Jefferson College and Bridgewater State University.
She currently lives in Worcester and works full time for Franklin Professional Associates (a recruiting and staffing firm) as a recruiter.
Flannery said that she and Costa shared the same vision of what is needed to build a successful program.
“I would love to see the girls that I coached this season win a state championship by their junior or senior year,” she said. “I think that they have the talent and love for the game that will get them there.”