Field Hockey

The sport of field hockey was primarily introduced at women's colleges in the United States by Constance Applebee in the summer of 1901.  Applebee, a British physical educator, brought the game to America from England, where it was popular among both men and women.  Because it was first introduced  at elite women's colleges in the East, field hockey was seen primarily as a sport played by upper class girls and women.  While the game eventually spread to the Midwest, it was still seen primarily as a regional sport played by women in the New England area with strongholds in Boston, Philladelphia, New York, and Baltimore.  The sport was primarily played in  schools and colleges; however, a strong system of club teams were also formed by women who had graduated and friends of those who played in college.  The United States Field Hockey Assoication was founded in 1922, and the first national tournament was held that year between five regional association teams formed from the club teams. 


Sophomore Field Hockey Team, 1917-1918

The first mention of field hockey in the Index (1915) occured in a diagram of the proposal for the new athletic fields on the east side of campus.  One of the spaces on the diagram was labeled for field hockey.  No other mention of the sport occured again until the 1917-1918 academic year, when photos of the sophomore and freshman class field hockey teams were shown in a section of the yearbook featuring Women's Athletics.  During that year, Ruth Conrow, Instructor of Physical Education for Women, had arrived from the east.  A graduate of the Sargent School of Physical Education, she would have been exposed to field hockey in her class work, and very well might have gotten the sport started at Wooster.


Sports for women during the 1920's were run by students for students and overseen by the Women's Physical Education Department.  This photo shows the first Athletic Council pictured in the 1920 Index.  The six women pictured were responsible for the six sports offered to the Wooster women during this era: hockey, track, hiking, basketball, swimming and tennis.  Of these sports, basketball and hockey were seen as major sports and the other four were seen as minor sports.  Each member of the Athletic Council served as the overall manager for one of the sports, and under that manager were four managers representing each of the class years.  That manager's job was to organize tryouts, select the class team, and run practices for her team. Class teams continued to be the major form of competition for women's field hockey well into the 1930's.  Women could earn chevrons for participation in a specific sport or a "W" for their overall participation in sports.


Field hockey became the second team sport to select an Honorary Varsity during the 1931-1932  academic year.  the women chose a Freshman All Star field hockey team from the two freshman class teams and an Honorary Varsity from the sophomore, junior and senior class teams.  The  Freshman All Stars then challenged the Honorary Varsity to a game, which the upperclass women won.  Being selected to the Honorary Varsity was the highest honor that a young women could achieve in athletics at the College of Wooster during this era.  During the 1930's, the numbers for the class teams began to drop, and every class was not always able to field a hockey team each year.  Eventually, women interested in field hockey began to form a club program instead.