On the other hand, classmate Meagan Hill tried to orchestrate her opportunity ... and succeeded.
The field hockey careers of both, linked by their play on Gettysburg's Mid-Penn Colonial Division championship team last fall, met again on Wednesday. Both signed collegiate scholarship offers -- Wood to Towson University and Hill to Bloomsburg University.
"The coach, Michelle Webber, actually found me at a tournament around Towson (Md.)," Wood, the Mid-Penn Colonial Defensive Player of the Year, said. "She contacted me and told me she was interested. I responded and I was excited because it was another (NCAA) D-I school. So if it was a D-I school, I was interested."
Hill's plan was more specific.
"I've actually wanted to go there for a long time," Hill said about Bloomsburg, an NCAA Division II school. "I'd been emailing the coaches there for, like, months and they just never emailed me back."
Therefore, just as Wood was considering Lock Haven, Hill shifted her focus to Slippery Rock -- until the Mid-Penn Conference All-Star Game at Lower Dauphin High School.
"I didn't think I played that well, but two days later, I got a call from Bloomsburg and they said they saw me and they wanted me to come up for a visit," Hill said.
In the cases of both Wood and Hill, the visits sealed the deals.
"As soon as I stepped foot on the campus, I really liked the school
The feeling was mutual, as it turned out. The Tigers were prepared to issue a $12,000 annual scholarship to a defensive-minded player such as Wood.
"I had attended a national (field hockey) festival and I thought I hadn't performed at my best, so I came home with low self-esteem, so I wasn't sure how it would fare with the whole college recruiting," Wood, who hopes to major in education and coach field hockey, said. "Then I visited them (at Towson) and said they said, 'We have one more spot left and we want you.' They made me felt I was really wanted."
On the other hand, Hill wanted to join Bloomsburg's program since she and a friend had made an earlier visit to the campus.
"I said, 'Oh, I so want to go here.' My friend was even like, 'Oh, you could play field hockey here,' but I was like, 'No, I can't. The coach doesn't even talk to me and doesn't want me to come play,'" Hill said, "Just not kidding, like two or three days later, I got a call from her and I was like freaking out."
The result of that next trip was a scholarship offer dependent upon Hill's making the team after she arrives on campus. However, Hill, a midfielder who will take her time to declare a major, and Wood both plan to make the most of their opportunities. They have been advised by Gettysburg High head coach Janelle Ebaugh to do just that.
"I told Taylor specifically that she needed to go into the season in shape," Ebaugh, a Littlestown High graduate who played at Lock Haven University, said of her first-ever NCAA Division I field hockey prospect. "She cannot go into expecting that preseason will get her ready for the season."
Already competing for a Littlestown-based club team, Wood says she is ready for the pace of both college and its field hockey.
"I think, when you're an athlete in college, you have no other option but to perform well in school," she said. "I'm excited to have that extra push to keep me in school."
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