State High Field Hockey Taps New Leadership in Uncertain Times


Photo/Hannah Garlin

Sharon Herlocher, head coach of the State High Field Hockey team, talks to athlete Olivia Morocko before practice on Thursday, September 3rd in State College, PA.

Hannah Garlin, Staff Writer

The State High Field Hockey team was without a head coach for nearly six months. It wasn’t until late May 2020 that Sharon Herlocher, a well-known member of the State College field hockey community, stepped up into an interim role.

For the past twenty-five years or so, Herlocher has spent time coaching at the middle school and in club programs in State College. She has also spent time working with Penn State. As for State High field hockey, Herlocher has been monitoring the team and its coaches for as long as she has been in State College. “I’ve always kind of had my finger on the pulse of the quality of coaches,” Herlocher said. 

COVID-19 has caused much uncertainty for the fall sports seasons all around the country, including Coach Herlocher’s first season as the head coach of the high school team. Although the season is unpredictable, she is extremely optimistic.

“I’m excited about it because with uncertain times, leadership is developed, and players become empowered,” Herlocher said. “My biggest fear is that we won’t be able to actually play another team, but on the flip side, I know I’m creative and I know I will find a way. I’m psyched with where the program is, and I think the uncertainty of COVID can help launch this program. My goal is to build the unity, to have a welcoming environment, have an accountable environment. I get so excited when one kid does something they weren’t doing yesterday.”

Molly Schreiner has been playing field hockey for four years and has had much experience with Sharon Herlocher as her coach. “I’m excited for her to be our head coach because we know her coaching style and we’re going to get to have another season with her,” Schreiner said. “She has been doing so much with our team this year, and she’s really dedicated to each and every player. She’s a great influence for us.”

Molly Schreiner, a sophomore at State High and goalie on the field hockey team, puts her gear away after a successful practice, on Thursday, September 3rd in State College, PA. (Photo/Hannah Garlin).

Schreiner also feels unsure about the future of the 2020 season. “I’ve kind of been preparing myself to just not have one. But I do have a little hope of having one just because of the precautions the Athletic Department has been taking,” she said. These precautions Schreiner is referring to are required for all student-athletes and coaches. Everyone must complete a personal health assessment before every practice, wear a face covering as long as they are not actively engaged in play, and maintain a social distance of six feet minimum.

With the future of the sports season being unpredictable, it is likely for all student-athletes and coaches to feel tense. However, Coach Herlocher is ready and excited for what the fall will bring. From the clear optimism and dedication from Herlocher and her players, the field hockey team will take any opportunity they have to make this season a great one.