Cloudy
55°
Cloudy
Hi 62° | Lo 40°

Windsor’s Wood Continuing Field Hockey Progression

Windsor field hockey standout Haley Wood moves the ball upfield in an undated photograph. (Courtesy Jody Wood)

Windsor field hockey standout Haley Wood moves the ball upfield in an undated photograph. (Courtesy Jody Wood)

Windsor — She speaks softly and carries a big stick. Make that a field hockey stick.

Windsor’s Haley Wood is hoping her ability with that stick will help her to become one of the country’s elite players in the sport, and someday even earn a spot on the United States Olympic Team.

So, just how good is she?

“She’s better than I was,” says her mother, Jody.

And that’s saying a mouthful given her mother, the former Jody Farnsworth, is a 1984 Windsor High School graduate whose scoring records as a Yellowjacket still stand and who later played on national championship teams at Becker College.

Currently, Haley Wood is going through what her mother calls the “pipeline for the Olympics.” Haley participated in the Futures Regional Field Hockey Tournament last month at Brown University. After performing well enough at the regionals, she was chosen to advance to the national championships in Lancaster, Pa., to be held from June 28-July 2.

“She is considered in the top 13 percent of the country,” said her mother, who added that there were 5,000 players trying out across the United States.

Haley, who has played forward but prefers midfield, says she knows that the competition is staggering.

“I’m just going to go down there and give it my best,” she said.

In preparation for what may be the most important days in her young life, the 17-year-old has been doing a lot of running to keep in shape. Her mother would like her daughter to put a little more muscle onto her 5-foot-7, 120-pound frame by lifting weights, but Haley just laughs that off and hits the highway to get her work in.

Wood has already heard from a number of colleges, including Bryant, Siena, Vermont and St. Michael’s, all of which have established field hockey programs. In addition to her athletic prowess, Wood is also an honor student and gives credit to the faculty and coaches at Windsor High School for getting her ready for the next step in her life.

“Both academics and athletics are important to me, and Windsor High School has afforded me the opportunity to prepare my self for the future,” said Haley.

Her coach at Windsor High School, Sandy Clary, said in the 30-plus years she has been coaching, she might have had players as talented, but puts Haley right near the top when it comes to commitment and dedication.

“She goes above and beyond just what happens during the high school season,” said Clary. “She always looked for summer camps and summer competition.”

Clary, who also coached Haley’s mom, thinks Haley’s biggest strength may be ball control.

“She’s a very coachable team player with great stick work,” said Clary.

Clary recalls one moment when she saw Haley take the ball 50 yards from the goal and just head down the field.

“My God, she’s going to take it all the way,” said Clary. “And she did.”

Wood still has her senior year ahead at Windsor of her — she also plays softball and basketball — and Clary is not sure how far her soon-to-be four-year starter will go.

“If college is the next step, then I certainly believe she is ready for the next level,” Clary noted.

Field hockey is solidly entrenched in the Wood family, and already there is talk that 11-year-old Hanna is going to keep the Wood family in the field hockey news for years to come. Jody Wood was just 18 months old when she was given her first field hockey stick by her mom. Should Haley continue to progress, her mother wouldn’t be the least bit surprised.

“She may be a little fish in a big pond, but a little birdie told me that good things are going to happen,” said Jody Wood.