In the fall of 2007, a young Sara Sanders first set foot on the turf at Schoellkopf Field. Since that time, the field hockey team has gone through two stadiums (they now play on the AstroTurf at Marsha Dodson Field), but Sanders and her hard work ethic have remained a constant. In fact, Sanders’ work ethic was such an inspiration to the rest of her teammates that Sanders was named a co-captain for this season, along with fellow senior Kate Thompson.
A senior double-major in Communications and Development Sociology, Sanders has become an example of what, exactly, a good team captain should be.
“She’s kind of a leader by example … a total team player,” said head coach Donna Hornibrook. “She’s certainly not the most vocal kid on our team, but she’s not afraid to speak up when she feels like something needs to be said. Her expectations and her standards are pretty high. She’s positive and has kind of a nice way of getting the message across. She sets the example everyday for the other players to follow.”
In her past three seasons playing for Cornell, Sanders won the Cornell field hockey Team First Award and has become known as one of the premiere defenders in the Ivy League.
Said Hornibrook, “[She is] one of the most composed, solid defenders that I’ve ever had the opportunity to coach.”
Actually, that is not fair to say, as both Sanders and her twin sister, Stephanie, have become known as two of the Ivy League’s premiere defenders.
“They’re two of the best defenders in the Ivy League, without a doubt,” Hornibrook said. “They’ve been very solid, very valuable and … excellent, excellent kids to coach.”
Hornibrook went on to talk about the special bond that has become evident between the sisters during games.
“I don’t know if it’s a twin thing or what, but they read each other, they play together so often that they totally understand what [the other] is going to do. That type of communication is really rare, but very valuable. I think they played together all through high school and you can tell that they really enjoy playing together.”
While the Sanders twins have become a staple on the Cornell field hockey team, there was doubt, at one time, as to whether or not they would both attend Cornell.
“I think when we recruited them they weren’t sure they were going to go to the same school,” Hornibrook said. “But [they] ultimately ended up making that decision and I’m really happy that they [did].”
However, it seems that Sanders always had Cornell high up on her list of college choices.
“I visited Cornell and loved the campus and loved the team and just thought it would be a good fit,” she said.
When not playing field hockey or studying, Sanders can be seen in the crowd at Cornell women’s lacrosse and women’s soccer games, which she says are her two favorite Cornell sports teams (with the exception of field hockey, of course).
So what is Sanders considering doing after Cornell?
“Hopefully [getting] a job in advertising or marketing,” she said.
With the end of this season comes the end of Sanders’ career with the Red. When asked what her favorite thing about the field hockey team was, she was quick to reply, “My teammates, we get along really well.”
Soon after the interview was over, Sanders called to expand on her answer. “Actually, I would like to add something to my favorite thing about Cornell field hockey,” she said. “Getting milkshakes with the team the night before every game, it’s a tradition.”
Here’s to wishing Sanders and the rest of the undefeated field hockey team a successful season filled with plenty of milkshakes.
Original Author: Zach Waller