From reading minds on the field to studying about them in the classroom, Perkiomen Valley's Rachel Hamm has made up her own mind — signing her letter of intent to play field hockey at Division I's Quinnipiac University.
Hamm, daughter of Linda and Brian Hamm, plans to major in psychology at the university nestled within the town of Hamden, Connecticut.
"I was looking at Saint Joe's, Indiana University (of Pa.); all state schools,' the senior defenseman said. "I just liked the campus and I really liked the coaches a lot. When I met the players they were really welcoming.'
For her psychology aspirations, Hamm thanks longtime Perkiomen Valley social studies teacher, Isaac Gelman.
"I took a class in school with Mr. Gelman and I really liked it. I wanted to pursue it in college.'
Hamm hopes that her uncanny ability to read forwards will transition to the collegiate level where Quinnipiac comes off a Middle Atlantic Athletic Conference championship but will also have lost a majority of their starting backs to graduation.
That is where Hamm and Quinnipiac head coach Becca Main, in her 20th year at the helm, think that her talents could cohere to the team philosophy rather quickly.
"Rachel is the player that has the strongest presence on the defensive end of the pitch,' Mann said. "She is a physically strong and dynamic player that has showed tremendous progress in her last two seasons on the field.
"We will look to her to become a strong feeder out of the backfield as our team works to improve our attack transition and fill the shoes left from graduating superstars Amanda Danziger and Cate Colucci. Rachel has the potential to become our next sweeper on defense and we are excited to see her grow into a mainstay on defense at Quinnipiac.'
"I just have to work hard and earn my spot,' Hamm said. "I hope I can contribute as much as I can.'
Hamm brings a wealth of defensive knowledge to Quinnipiac as the back was a key cog to a string of successful seasons for the Vikings over the last two years. Under head coach Erik Enters, Hamm garnered All-Area honors in 2012 and 2013, earning second team honors as a junior before obtaining first team honors this past year.
"I liked him a lot,' Hamm said of Enters, who also coached her at her indoor team, X-Calibur. He's helped all my skills in general. He helped me build up my confidence and has really helped me get into college.'
As a senior, Hamm showed an offensive flavor to her game, scoring four goals including one that she deemed her favorite moment of her senior — scoring the game-winning goal against Methacton with 38 seconds left in overtime.
Hamm's leadership guided the Vikings through an injury-plagued season as seven regular starters were forced to sit out at some point in the season. Hamm and the Vikings finished the PAC-10 slate with an 8-5 record while earning a District 1-AAA berth.
"Losing our starters throughout the season was a struggle,' Hamm said. "It was hard to come together as a team, but we did and we worked together well.'
Hamm, who also plays softball for the Vikings, will keep her hand-eye coordination sharp before journeying to Connecticut — hopefully making more memories along the way.