An athlete’s ultimate goal while they play a sport is to break a record. Whatever the record may be, it is always a huge accomplishment. Who doesn’t want to be the best at their chosen sport? Yet senior forward Rachel Preusser’s mindset was just a little different for her sport of field hockey.
“It never even crossed my mind that it was possible,” Preusser said. “I just play to play and to have fun and it just ended up happening.”
Preusser now owns the record for most goals in a career in Castleton field hockey history with 71 after a goal scored on Sept. 28 at Thomas. She also broke the school’s assist record of 26 while away at Laselle College in Boston on Sept. 21. Both records were held by former teammate Kealy Chipman.
This girl is unstoppable with her lightning fast speed and her ball handling skills according to her “number one fan and roomie” Chelsea Paola.
“Rachel is a coach’s dream player,” said field hockey head coach Tammy Landon, smiling with pride. “She is blessed with speed, but has worked tremendously hard to become a phenomenal field hockey player.”
Hailing from Craryville, N.Y., Preusser has been playing field hockey for 10 years. Being humble and giving all the credit to her team and not keeping it for herself is why she is so cherished among the field hockey girls according to the entire field hockey team.
“It shows us as a team that we can do big things together,” said Annie Towslee, a senior midfielder. “Rachel scoring all those goals shows that everyone is doing their job from one end of the field to the other.”
Sitting at her desk in her room on Mechanic Street, looking ever so comfortable in a long sleeve shirt, sweatpants and moccasins, Preusser struggles to answer questions being raised. Her blue-grey eyes never focusing on one specific thing, it is clear Preusser isn’t used to being in the spotlight.
“I don’t know how they knew or who told them, but they did announce it,” Preusser said about the announcement at Thomas College when she broke the record.
Her teammates were more excited for her than she was. Preusser’s record-breaking effort led into Landon’s 100th career win against St. Joseph’s College at Spartan Stadium.
Landon is in her 10th season at Castleton, but she said when she began, the program wasn’t what it is now.
“My first year we won five games,” she said laughing, putting her hands to her face. “My second year we won four.”
It has been a slow, yet steady road building the field hockey program up to what it is today. When Landon first got to Castleton, the program was at the bottom of the barrel, barely winning any games and with little respect.
“I think it is a testament to her coaching abilities and love for the sport,” said senior Alex Sears of Landon’s accomplishment.
Watching Landon interact with her players during practice, it is clear to see why her players respect and enjoy her so much. She is firm and clear about what she expects, yet she isn’t mean if she sees something she doesn’t like. Her skillful eyes carefully watch every player’s move and gently critique the errors.
On the day of her 100th win, her team excitedly celebrated the accomplishment.
“What meant the most that day was the team being so excited,” said Landon. “They had a banner made saying ‘Coach Landon’s 100th win.'”
Landon wasn’t shy about how much she respects Preusser as a player on her team. Landon, along with Preusser and the rest of the team, wholeheartedly agree that Preusser’s record breaking was not an individual thing, but a team effort.
“We all contribute and we always say that we wouldn’t score goals if the defense didn’t send the ball from the back of the field,” said senior center forward Shawna Pinsonault. “As a team, we will continue to be excited about our team accomplishments.”
Pruesser is proud of her accomplishment even if she wasn’t expecting it to happen.
“It shows that hard work, dedication and motivation can pay off,” she said.
It is a good thing Preusser is here at Castleton. When Rachel gets running, nothing in the world can catch her. Now you see her, now you don’t.
“We try to compete against Rachel every day,” Landon said, laughing with endearment.