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Photo courtesy of Shannon Opie

Opie Takes it to the Field

September 9, 2022

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In July of 2019, the field hockey program went from an idea created by many different students, to a complete program at FCHS, one of the last schools in the district to start one. While there were many highs–one being their first win against Louisa County High School last season– there were a fair share of lows, including an ever-changing round of assistant coaches.

The latest coach to join long-time Field Hockey Coach Jenny Payne is Assistant Coach Shannon Opie.

Opie has returned to her roots as a 2011 graduate of FCHS. She recently began a job as a Special Education teacher while also coaching. “I actually never played field hockey. Field hockey was not a sport I knew about until college when I attended a game with my college roommate,” Opie said. When she attended high school, the field hockey team didn’t exist. Opie’s interest in coaching and playing field hockey grew while she was a teacher at Albemarle High School. Her college roommate, who had introduced Opie to field hockey, was looking for an assistant coach and thought that Opie was the perfect candidate. Opie taught both defense and goalie while her partner taught offense and varsity. Their hard work paid off with a winning streak of fifteen games. They made it to Regionals last year.

Opie said she uses her skills in both softball and basketball to help create a happy and safe environment for young athletes. “I bring my high school experience into field hockey by trying to be the coach I always wanted. I had both really good and bad coaches growing up playing sports,” she said. “Now that I have kids, I try to be the coach I would want my kids to have.”

High school can be a difficult time for young athletes especially when they don’t feel comfortable in their sports, so Opie hopes to provide a safe space for all students who join the team. “I like her a lot. I definitely enjoy the way she teaches the players and how she separates defense and offense in practice,” said player Savannah Peterson. “Opie is a good aspect to our team. She differs from our other coaches with the new drills we’ve begun this year,” said player Bailey Marshal. “She teaches us new ways to improve our skills,” she added.

With a new coach comes new drills and tactics. Opie uses her prior knowledge of field hockey to teach athletes the importance of the basics. “The coaches are trying to work on our technique and the foundations of playing,” said Peterson.

Opie decided to start coaching to give back to the sport that gave her so much. “I had the time of my life playing sports and most of my favorite memories come from either the softball field or the basketball court,” she said. “I just want to make sure that others have the same or similar experience. [If] they have fun, they learn a little more, and they feel supported,” she said.

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About the Contributor
Photo of Morgan Drumheller
Morgan Drumheller, Journalist

Morgan is in 11th grade and her second year of Journalism. She plays on the field hockey and lacrosse team. She has 3 dogs, 2 turtles, and 1 guinea pig.

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