The Hempfield High School field hockey program will kick off its season with a "Meet the Team and Coaches Night" on Friday, Aug. 25, from 6 to 9 p.m. in the cafeteria of the school, 200 Stanley Ave., Landisville. The doors will open at 5:45 p.m., and folks may drop in at any time.
A small fee will be charged for admission of adults, and college-age and younger individuals will be admitted free with paid adult tickets. Attendees may dress in casual attire. Snacks and beverages will be served.
The event will include silent and live auctions, as well as prize drawings. Some of the auction offerings will include Penn State football and basketball tickets, jewelry, gift cards to local entertainment venues and restaurants, Phillies tickets, gift baskets filled with various items, and field hockey items. Cash and checks will be accepted for payment.
The proceeds from the event will be used by the field hockey booster club to support the athletes and the team throughout the year.
Also, folks will be introduced to the new varsity coach, Tesla Atkins, during the evening.
"Hempfield is where I began my career as a field hockey player, and I am excited to be home," Atkins said.
Atkins played field hockey at Hempfield as a freshman before transferring to Penn Manor for the rest of her high school career. She was selected to the Lancaster-Lebanon conference team and was named academic All-American in 2006-07. Atkins graduated from East Stroudsburg University in 2011 with a degree in health and physical education. During college, she was a four-time academic All-American, and she had two appearances in the Pennsylvania State Athletics Conference on Final Four and runner-up squads.
As an adult athlete, Atkins has played in countless tournaments throughout the country, including the National Indoor Tournament hosted by USA Field Hockey, and she was drafted to the Harrow Cup.
Atkins coached several field hockey clubs from 2009 to 2014, and she served as an assistant coach for high school teams in Charlotte, N.C., from 2013 to 2016. Atkins' teams won two North Carolina state championships and placed second twice. Additionally, Atkins created the Carolina Evolution club team in 2014 and coached teams that were successful in numerous tournaments. She subsequently represented North Carolina at the 2017 U.S. Field Hockey League tournament.
After returning to Pennsylvania, Atkins coached 11 Hempfield players at the 2017 Limelight college showcase, finishing in second place overall. She has also coached several youth field hockey teams that competed in the National Futures Tournament.
Atkins has high hopes for the future of Hempfield's field hockey team, and she has created goals for the group.
"We will create a positive, encouraging, and uplifting environment where the athletes can work as a unit to achieve their goals," she remarked. "We (will) focus on the tactics necessary for success on the field, but also concepts like problem-solving, teamwork, and sacrifice, which will benefit our athletes throughout their lives. Our team is also focused on the growth of the program and implementing opportunities for elementary players to learn and love the sport."