CROSS RIVER, N.Y. – Ashley Schafer a senior member of the John Jay field hockey team, which reached the section finals in 2018 Last year, she earned All-League honors and was named All-Elite honorable mention. Schafer also plays for the varsity lacrosse team, which won two section titles (2018, 2019) and made it to state championships two years in a row. She has been named All-Section honorable mention (2018, 2019), All-State second team (2019), LoHud All-Star First Team (2019).

Who has had the biggest influence on your career so far? What did this person do to influence you? This can be a coach, teammate, professional athlete, even a competitor.

My Coach, Debbie Walsh, has had a huge impact on my career. I picked up field hockey relatively late, so I had a lot of learning to do, but Coach Walsh focuses on every player and expects the absolute best of what they have to offer, whether they are a starter or on the bench. She was involved in my field hockey career from the day I picked up a stick, and has taught me every skill I know. I also look up to Cara O’Rielly because of her athleticism and field IQ. I play the same position she did when she was on the team, and I have picked up a lot of techniques from watching her.

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If you could offer one piece of advice to young athletes, what would it be and why?

Make sure when you step on the field it is a time to escape from any other things going on in your life. Sports can be stressful, but they should always be a time to have fun and get away from other life stresses. If your sport is your number one cause of stress, then step back and reevaluate your goals and purpose for playing that sport!

Your team has been pretty successful in the past few years. Which season was your favorite and why?

The 2018 season was my favorite. That year we had made it to the section finals, and although we lost to Lakeland, JJ field hockey hadn’t made it to the finals in a few years, and to make it to the finals was one of our main goals for the season. We had tremendous support from the student body and were extremely close as a team.

What is your favorite memory of JJ athletics?

My freshman year, we won the section finals for lacrosse. We were the underdogs and had to fight for our place in the rankings and to be taken seriously. Winning the finals was unexpected, and taking it all the way to state semi-finals was surreal as a freshman. It is something that I think about every season, and how I will always chase that feeling.

Do you have any pre-game rituals?

Before games I try to visualize myself performing the way I hope to. I also love to get to the field early with my teammates before warm-ups to hit the ball around and listen to music for the “pre-game hype.” As a team, our coach makes ribbons for us every game with a goal or saying for that game, and the captains give us a quote to carry with us during the game. It helps get us all on the same page and motivated for the game!

Do you prefer playing in the cold weather or warm weather?

I love playing in September, when the weather is high 60s low 70s. Playing in super warm weather isn’t ideal because it’s just another factor for fatigue, and playing in super cold weather is not ideal for field hockey because when driving the ball you can feel a shock all the way through your arm (yes, it hurts). I associate field hockey with the gorgeous fall days before the weather gets cold.

What’s your dream job?

I’m still not completely sure what career path I want to take, but I plan to major in either economics or psychology, and am interested in pursuing a career in law.

What’s your favorite place to eat locally and what’s your go-to order?

I love Empire Bagels and my go-to order is a Passionate Peach smoothie and a Chipotle Chicken sandwich on a roll.

What is something about yourself people would be surprised to learn?

I write with my left hand, but in all of my sports my right hand is my dominant hand.

Who’s your favorite musical artist? What’s your favorite song by said artist?

Harry Styles is my go-to artist, and “Cherry” is my favorite song.

Do you have a favorite movie? Which one and why?

I tend to watch TV shows more than movies, but if I had to pick, it would be “Good Will Hunting.” It is a favorite in my family, and I’ve seen it about a million times, but it is a super inspiring plot.

What is your favorite hobby?

I love to play the ukulele and learn new songs, and to go on long drives listening to music with the windows down with my friends. We always end up somewhere fun and make an adventure out of it.

Where did you go on your last vacation?

In August, my family and I went to the Hamptons for a week. It was nice to finally travel somewhere outside of Westchester and to go to the beach. I’m really grateful that I was able to go somewhere before school started even in COVID times.