– Last weekend the Towson University field hockey team went on an excursion to get a short breather from two-a-days and do some team bonding.
The Tigers traveled to Knoxville, Maryland on Sunday, away from the worries of practice and campus. On Sunday evening the team went biking along the C&O Canal in the Harpers Ferry area, when a small storm rolled through and dumped rain on the dirt path. Covered in mud from biking through and jumping in puddles, the group went to a local ice cream store in old town Harpers Ferry for some dry relief and to escape the rain.
With 12 newcomers to the team, having an off-campus experience was beneficial for everyone, upperclassmen and freshmen.
"It was really good to connect with everybody outside of field hockey," said sophomore Beira Ho
. "The trip was a good amount of time and it was really refreshing to get out into nature."
Sunday night the group went to a retreat area where everyone camped in tents and enjoyed the wilderness.
Monday morning the team woke up and packed up, before heading back down to the river area to hike the trail to Maryland Heights, a part of history and nature combined. The peak features an overlook of Harpers Ferry, West Virginia where John Brown's fort is and can be seen from the overlook area.
Harpers Ferry is where the Potomac and Shenandoah Rivers meet and continue onward to Washington, D.C. and holds a lot of history from the Civil War. Maryland Heights itself was the first battleground between the Union and Confederate armies on Maryland territory.
The hike is described as "difficult" on the National Park Service's website, but the team crushed the hike in less time than most would need. Round-trip the distance is about 4.5 miles, including steep inclines and rocks in some areas.
"I enjoyed it a lot more than just the preseason practice activities, because we get to see everyone in a different environment," said freshman Gretchen Alderfer
. "Out here we got to goof around, take a break and reflect. We spent a lot of time reflecting on what we are grateful for and being all in this together."
Even with the demanding morning hike the team was in good spirits after enjoying the view, as well as peace and quiet, up at the top of the mountain.
The short break away from practice and time to spend with teammates off the field was embraced by all and the players expressed their appreciation for being able to bond with the new members of their team.
"We're so used to competing against each other on the field and one of the things coach always reminds us of is uniting once we're finished competing," said sophomore Abby Webster
. "It's been really fun to get goofy with each other, finding out that nature is beautiful and there are elements we aren't always exposed to all the time so connecting with it has been a lot of fun."
The team returned back to campus Monday afternoon to get some rest and be ready for the continuing grind of preseason practice as the first game of the year looms ahead. Towson's season gets underway next Friday, August 24, at Appalachian State.
Wednesday afternoon the CAA Field Hockey Preseason Poll was released with Delaware selected to finish first. Read more on CAASports.com.