by Tom Utescher
As Mount St. Joseph Academy began field hockey practice last week, an interim coach was in charge of the proceedings. After heading the program for the last three seasons, Christina Post (MSJ ’97) is away on maternity leave. The MSJ program isn’t likely to miss a beat, though, since few teams are fortunate enough to have a fill-in as accomplished as Tina Reinprecht.
Reinprecht, the founder of the highly-regarded Mystx Field Hockey Club, coached at Mount St. Joseph from 2001 through the 2008 season. Among many other Mounties, she mentored her daughters Sarah (’05), Katie (’08) and Julia (’09). All three were junior national team players who went on to star for Princeton University. Katie and Julia were members of the U.S. Olympic Team in the summer of 2012, and that fall they helped Princeton University win its first NCAA field hockey championship.
To describe Tina Reinprecht’s recent scholastic coaching activities, you could recast the title of the old TV Western as “Have Clipboard, Will Travel.” Before signing on as the Mount’s interim coach this fall, she served in the same capacity last year at Council Rock South High School, guiding the Golden Hawks to the championship in the National Conference of the Suburban One League.
In 2013, the Mount St. Joe stickers finished 13-7 overall, and within the Athletic Association of Catholic Academies their 9-5 record earned them a fourth-place finish behind co-champions Gwynedd Mercy and Villa Maria (each 12-2), and number three Merion Mercy (11-3). The Magic won their opening game in the PIAA District 1 tournament before falling to Owen J. Roberts, which went on to finish third.
The team’s Class of 2014 wasn’t a large one, but there were two key losses; Millie Stefanowicz was a highly-skilled midfielder who is now playing for Stanford University, and Christina Black was a three-year starter in goal who has moved on to the University of Scranton.
There’s another small senior class this year, consisting of Katie Fitzpatrick, Katie Maransky, Chrissy Pascali, and Adriana Pero. Three have already made verbal college commitments, Fitzpatrick to Cornell, Maransky to Georgetown, and Pero to Lafayette.
On the overall varsity/JV squad, a large junior class includes five holdovers from last year’s varsity squad: Liz DeGroat, Taylor Grey, Bridget Horan, Taylor Merkle, and Virginia Poliwoda. Libby Burgoyne, an 11th-grader out of Norwood Fontbonne Academy, is another varsity veteran, but she’s been out with an injury during the initial days of tryouts.
Eliza Ewing, also an NFA alum, has returned from an injury that kept her sidelined throughout her sophomore season in 2013. As a freshman in 2012, she started on defense along with Grey.
This fall, other juniors in the mix are Mairéad Denton, Maddie Ferrero, Taylor Merkle, Courtney Target, and one of the athletes looking to fill the vacancy in the goalcage, Allison McMullen.
Another candidate for keeper is sophomore Gabi Egan. Two of her 10th-grade classmates, Margot Biamon and Norwood’s Margaret Lynch, both made the MSJ varsity last year as freshmen and quickly became starters. This year’s sophomore contingent is rounded out by Kateri Krause, Susanne Kushnerick, Hanna Poliwoda, Ava Self, and Tess Worthington.
Among the one dozen freshmen who will be contributing to either the varsity or JV Mount teams are Norwood grads Julie Flynn and Jacqueline “Jax” Nyzio. The list also includes Natalie McNamara and Mary Kate Stefanowicz from Ancillae Assumpta Academy in Wyncote, Grace Wallis from St. Genevieve’s in Flourtown, and Ashley Moore from St. Philip Neri in Lafayette Hill.
The ninth grade group is rounded out by Bridget Boyle, Nora Denton, Courtney Derrah, Emma Ferrero, Rebecca Patti, and Riley Stack.
Serving as Reinprecht’s assistant and the Mount JV coach this year is Mary Beth Stefanowicz, the mother of Millie and Mary Kate, and of two older former Mount St. Joe athletes. She coached the grade school team at Ancillae for the past 12 years.