May 3, 2010
By Cecilia-Carter Smith
She’s a national newbie living a childhood dream.
“I always had a childhood dream of playing for my country,” said Hamilton Ontario’s Krissy Wishart. “I started playing field hockey in grade nine (Hamilton Hill Park Secondary School), and since then the opportunities to play field hockey have been endless. I didn’t realize that playing nationally would be a possibility until I started playing university,” said the recent University of Guelph graduate.
Admittedly, uprooting from the cozy confines of university campus life to full-time athlete in residence in Vancouver was not easy. “However, thanks to Coach Louis (Mendonca), – who has been so supportive in making my move – I consider the move quite smooth,” said Krissy. “Coach Louis understands the different stresses because he, too is living away from his family.”
Krissy talked about the shift from part-time athlete to full-time national team athlete.
“I love being a full-time athlete. As a student-athlete you have to find a balance between academics (math major) and field hockey, but for the first time I am able to just concentrate on field hockey – being in the gym and on the pitch.”
Krissy is motivated by “many different things. In terms of fitness I want to be stronger/faster than the competition. While working out in the gym I visualize game situations to push myself to the next level. And on the pitch I have been learning new skills and ways to improve the skills that I have already acquired.”
Continued Krissy, “If we want to become a podium team it is important not to become complacent. There is always something to perfect (in the game).”
Krissy appreciates the candidness of national coach Mendonca. “Louis is a very honest coach,” said the recently recognized W.F. Mitchell Award winner at the University of Guelph (awarded to a graduating female varsity athlete who demonstrates exceptional leadership, athleticism in her chosen varsity sport, and outstanding citizenship).
“Louis cares a lot about his players. He wants what’s best for the team – to continue building this program to move up in the world rankings.”
And to continue that climb, and to be a major contributor to the national program Krissy understands that “fitness” is the key to her success at the elite level. Michelle Turley, head coach of the five-time CIS University of Guelph Gryphon First Team All-Star agrees. “Really, the only thing holding Krissy back from fulfilling her dream was her fitness (level). She has the speed, the talent, and the exceptional ability to read the game. So her fate was in her own hands. She has worked hard at her fitness level and now has the opportunity to shine for Canada.”
Initially, Krissy felt like a little kid in a candy shop when she was named to the national team. But, now that she has participated on the world stage at the World Cup Qualifier in San Diego California she understands what it takes to challenge for the big lollipop.