By CHRIS MARKHAM
Caitlin Baker, a senior on the University of Mary Washington’s nationally ranked field hockey team, was recently awarded with the honor of representing UMW in the 2013 National Senior All-Star game, which attracts top field hockey players from all over the country’s Division three schools. Baker topped off her tremendous college career by earning top spots in UMW’s all-time scoring lists, as well as CAC rankings.
“This is a very big honor to me,” Baker said. “Being a senior and being chosen to play in this game is definitely at the top of my list of accomplishments. I am very lucky to have had the career that I have had over the past four years.”
Baker, a captain of the 2013 squad, registered 35 points this season for the Eagles, including 12 goals and 11 assists. She holds the school record for most assists over her career and ranks third all-time in goals scored.
Her outstanding numbers are not the only reason she was selected for the all-star game, however. Her leadership on and off the field built her a reputation that few could duplicate.
As a senior, she said, she hopes the team will continue to flourish as a unit “because without team unity a great team will not be able to be as successful as they could be.”
“I believe that all of the seniors have influenced this team in one way or another, especially with our drive and determination to win and have a strong season,” Baker said.
These accomplishments transitioned into success on the field for Baker’s team. The Eagles enjoyed successful seasons under Baker’s leadership in recent years, the most successful of those seasons being last year’s NCAA Final Four team.
The Eagles’ season this year was cut short after UMW failed to make the final cut for the NCAA tournament. They finished the season with a strong record of 15-3 and won third place in the conference behind Christopher Newport University and Salisbury University, both teams who made the NCAA tournament.
“I am very grateful for all of the individual and team accomplishments that I have experienced over the past four years, and every one of these accomplishments have led me to achieve this honor,” said Baker.
“However, I would without a doubt give up all of my awards and honors that I have received if it meant that we could play for the National Championship title,” she said.
Baker was one of five Eagles named to the first-team all-CAC this season, and she was second team All-American in 2012. She will play in the all-star game on Nov. 23 in Virginia Beach as a part of Final Four weekend.
Baker attributed her success to the support of her parents, the leadership of her coach Lindsey Elliott, who is in her third year at the helm, and the love of her teammates.
“Ultimately, our team is held together by our coach, and without her we never would have been as successful as we have been since she first started coach here,” Baker said.
Baker is an education major from Falls Church, VA and said she aspires to become an elementary school teacher after she graduates.
“I have known for a while that I want to be an elementary school teacher, and the program here had a lot of what I was looking for,” Baker said.
She got her foot in the door of field hockey at a young age when she attended a field hockey camp in fifth grade but did not play on an organized team until she reached high school.