Stephanie Whiteman’s journey to Lock Haven and her field hockey career could have been vastly different if not for one Lock Haven alumna.
That alumna happened to be her cousin who introduced her to the university. “She’s the one that suggested it [Lock Haven] to me and told me to look to play over here since she had a really great experience. That’s how I really found out,” said Whiteman.
Her familial ties have a distinct imprint on her and her career. The Trinidad and Tobago native, who’s earned the nickname Trini from her friends and teammates, attributed her love for field hockey to both of her parents. “Both my parents play field hockey and since then I was always around the sport. I think it’s kind of in my genes. My dad was actually the first one to show me how to hold a hockey stick. I began playing around my family and then I joined my parents hockey club and I began playing there when I was seven years old,” said Whiteman.
While her father was the one that taught her how to hold a field hockey stick, it was her mother that provided her with an adage to live and play by. “Play as if it’s your last time because you never know when it’s going to be your last time to play,” said Whiteman.
The passion and knowledge that she has received from her parents has enabled her to have a distinguished field hockey career. In the summer of 2010, she was scouted to play for the Trinidad and Tobago women’s national team and promptly began training. Unfortunately, she was unable to make the team that year, but that would not deter her. She achieved her goal the following summer when she made the team. After three additional years of training, Trinidad and Tobago participated in the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Scotland. “We finished 8th overall, but the fact that we made it to the Commonwealth Games was a big accomplishment for my country being so small,” said Whiteman.
While she undoubtedly enjoys her time with her home country’s national team, she is also very fond of Lock Haven University. Head coach, Pat Rudy is a very large part of that happiness. Whiteman had no shortage of kind words for her head coach. “I love coach Rudy. She is, undeniably, a great coach. She helps inspire us. Although she can be a little crazy sometimes, she knows what she’s doing and there is always a plan behind her madness. She always lets us know what to do. Whenever we have a question she’s always open to hear it and to answer. She’s open to our opinions and suggestions we have about the team and I really like that about her. She’s very approachable,” said Whiteman.
On the field, Whiteman has been a steady defensive presence for her head coach. She is one of four players to play every minute this season. The defense that she is a part of has recorded six shutouts through 15 games this season. The six shutouts is good enough to be sixth among Division I teams. Their goals-against-average is a mere 0.76 which is second in the nation. Her play has not gone unnoticed as she was named Atlantic-10 Player of the Week earlier this season. Trini also leads the team with eight of the team’s 10 defensive stops.
Whiteman will undoubtedly have quite a lot to tell her parents, both of which still play in Trinidad and Tobago, that she does not get to see very often. “I go home every break as often as I can; so summer break and winter break. Besides that, we Skype probably once a week,” said Whiteman.
The national motto of Trinidad and Tobago is, “Together we aspire, together we achieve.” Trini has brought some of that culture with her and she is a prime reason why the Lock Haven field hockey team is ranked No. 24 in the nation.