This week at Monmouth Regional, two goals were finally realized. On Wednesday, which was National Signing Day, senior Natasha Backman signed her National Letter of Intent to play field hockey at Temple University. Natasha will receive a full ride to Temple with her athletic and academic scholarships, as he is an excellent student at Communications High School in Wall, as well as a great athlete and teammate for the Falcon field hockey team.
"Natasha has grown not only into one of the best field hockey players I have ever coached but she has grown into a leader, a role model, and an amazing young woman," said Falcons Field Hockey Coach Angela Dello Russo. "She set herself apart because of her passion, hard work, and genuine concern for her teammates."s
Natasha had multiple offers from Division I programs, but chose Temple University located in Philadelphia because it offered the most unique experience: a competitive team, a good business program, and life in the city.
"I am most excited for overnight trips to our away games and working with Coach AJ (Amanda Janney, the head coach of the Temple Owls field hockey team) because I know I will learn a lot from her," said Natasha.
Having played field hockey team at Ball State University, another Division I program, Della Russo is confident about Natasha's career at Temple. "Natasha will fit into a Division I team because she has the dedication, athletic ability, and motivation to adjust to the high expectation that will be set upon her. She is a true team player and a natural leader."
"She is every coaches' dream athlete and I do not doubt that in four years she will make her mark on the Temple program like she did for Falcons Field Hockey," she said.
Natasha has done many things to earn her opportunity at Temple. I have lived next to her for the past couple of years on Fort Monmouth and asked her about her college commitment having watched her running for hours around our neighborhood. No matter what the temperature, weather or time of day, I could usually see my neighbor running with her Monmouth Falcon Field Hockey t-shirt on, training for her sport.
Coach Dellorusso has also noticed Natasha's dedication to improving her skills. She said she remembers a rainy Sunday during the season and spying Natasha shooting in the pouring rain with her younger brother Nate.
"She set a goal to become a better shooter and to score more goals then last year, and nothing stopped her," said the coach.
According to Natasha, there were a number of factors that lead to her success. She credits her family for believing in her D1 dream and for her coaches who "were willing to go above and beyond and help me learn the game even after starting late."
"The last reason is myself. If I didn't love field hockey the way I do, I wouldn't be where I am today," she said.
This past Saturday, the Monmouth Regional Wrestling Team broke and extended the record for most wins in a season. They had a quad match versus Asbury Park, Point Boro, and Shabbazz High Schools, beating Asbury Park 61-6 and Shabbazz 56-6. The Falcons are now 14-6 with at least five matches left. This year's squad has a great opportunity to extend the record to an even bigger amount.
Coach Jason Morrell preaches similar things to what Natasha was most known for: passion, hard work, and concern for the rest of the team, just as he did coaching the football team in the fall. "Our kids have made the total commitment to achieving their goals. Every second of every day they work to be the best, whether its athletics, academics, or daily life. They are totally willing to sacrifice external pressures to achieve their goals as a group and they understand that a commitment to discipline is the key to success."
Senior Captain Nick Jordan went 2-0 with two pins on the day, Senior Captain Marcus Johnson went 3-0 with two pins, and Senior Clinton Cotton went 3-0 with two pins as well. Also another accomplishment was achieved this Saturday. Dom Cardella, only a Junior, won his 50th and 51st career matches, just as Senior Captain Ryan Greenwood recently.
This wrestling team has set goals, some of them accomplished, some of them are still being worked towards; but either way, this team is proving a lot of other teams wrong and is impressing everyone on their journey "up the mountain" towards the rest of their dreams, together as a family.