Field hockey Olympian flicks his way to Teamer

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By Aimee Buttenbaum, Sports Editor

For the fall 2018 season, a new coach joined the varsity girls field hockey team and led them to win the Central League Championship.  

Coach JaJa Kentwell has helped develop all of the team members in the eyes of captain Anna Mayock.   

Kentwell “takes his job seriously and is determined to help us succeed, which is exactly what we need going into districts,” Mayock said.   

Despite losing 13 seniors from the past season, Mayock believes Kentwell’s coaching has helped the team with their success this season. 

“With JaJa’s coaching and his ability to develop the younger players, we are proving to be as strong as last year,” Mayock said.   

Kentwell also believes his ‘tough love’ is helping the team improve.   

“I yell at them a lot,” Kentwell said. “I don’t let them get complacent and always stay on top of them on the littlest details.”   

An accomplished player in his own right, Kentwell plays field hockey on the U.S. Men’s National Team.   

“My schedule with the USMNT worked out pretty well this year with our last tour ending in July and starting up again in December traveling to Chile,” Kentwell said. “Surprisingly there weren’t any conflicts which has allowed me to coach Conestoga this season.”  

Junior Sarah Rogalski believes that Kentwell playing while coaching is a large part of why he is so helpful.  

“I think that since he is a current player, rather than a retired coach, we can really use him as a demonstration of something we work towards and want to accomplish ourselves,” Rogalski said.   

They also use his intelligence to their advantage.   

“JaJa’s knowledge of the sport really helps myself and the other girls to understand what is going on and it allows us to ask him questions about plays or what is happening on the field,” Rogalski said.   

Kentwell, currently 27, began his field hockey journey back when he was only 15. His parents started the WC Eagles, a club team in Pottstown.   

“I was moving boxes in a warehouse one day and my mom had 5 players and needed an extra person to make it even,” Kentwell said. “She asked me to hop in as a body.”   

So far, Kentwell said he has enjoyed his time here at “The Big C” as well as working with the girls on the team.  

“They are eager to learn and always work hard during practice,” Kentwell said. “They have a lot to learn but slowly we’ll get there.”  

Looking forward, Kentwell wants to evaluate this season with the team, and go from there.   

“We have to get through this season first and evaluate where we stand as a team and what our goals are moving forward,” Kentwell said. “If we’re all on the same page, I would love to stay and develop this team.”


Aimee Buttenbaum can be reached at at [email protected]