Mia Lennon is a senior captain and midfielder/defender on the seven-time defending New York State Class B champion Lakeland field hockey team. The Hornets won Section 1 and regional titles last week.
How old were you when you started playing field hockey and how did you get started?
I started playing field hockey when I was 12 years old. I had played soccer my whole life, and I had tried field hockey in third grade and I hated it. When I was in fifth grade we did a field hockey unit in gym class, and my gym teacher, Ms. Janik, told me she thought I would be good at it. So, that day I went home and told my mom, and she signed me up for SOAC field hockey. I ended up playing that next fall season in sixth grade.
What do you think are your strengths as a field hockey player?
I do very well communicating with my teammates. I also play strong defense and I’m able to read the attacking players very well.
As a senior captain on the team this year, how do you see your role as a leader?
On our field hockey team, being a captain has always been about setting a good example for the younger players, and keeping everyone focused every game.
Lakeland has had another fantastic season and is primed for yet another state title. How does playing with such high expectations affect the team?
Everyone on our team feels the pressure of living up to the expectations that are put on us, but coach (Sharon) Sarsen has taught us to deal with the pressure and use it as motivation. We know that every game is going to be a new challenge, but we just take it one game at a time.
What is your favorite team activity, pregame or postgame ritual that you share with your teammates?
Before every game we have a team talk. It’s where we get everyone focused, and we get out all of our thoughts before the game starts. It really brings us closer as a team, and it gets us all mentally prepared to go into the game.
Who has been your biggest role model over the years and what have you learned from them?
My two older brothers. They’ve always been there for me, and they’ve taught me how to be tough and that nothing comes easy, so it’s important that I work hard. They also taught me how to compete. Everything with us three is a competition.
Tell us one thing about yourself that not a lot of people know?
I love art. I’ve been in art classes in school for years, and I really enjoy photography and painting.
Do you plan on continuing field hockey in college? If yes, where are you going and why did you decide on that college?
I plan on playing field hockey at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. When I went on my visit at UMass, I knew right away that it was the school for me. I loved that it was a large school, and the surrounding towns were very quaint New England towns. I spent time with the team as well, and they made me feel right at home. I also really liked that academically they allowed me opportunities to study abroad, and there were many different programs, so I could explore different majors.
Do you know what you want to study in college? If yes, what and why?
I am planning on studying English in college. I’ve always loved English class in school, and reading and writing are two of my strengths. Also, I think I’d enjoy being a teacher, and being a teacher would afford me the opportunity to coach a sport.
Who is your favorite professional athlete and pro or college sports team?
I’m a huge Peyton Manning fan. He’s one of the best quarterbacks ever and he’s super funny. My favorite pro sports team is the New York Rangers.
What is your favorite music to listen to warming up for a game?
Everyone on my team actually makes fun of me for my pregame music. I listen to Irish punk songs, but I also listen to Kanye West. It’s a very weird mixture, but it works for me.
If you could have one super power, what would it be and why?
It would be cool to have super speed. Then I’d be able to get a lot of things done in a short amount of time, and I’d be able to pass any speed test with little effort.
If you could pick one place to visit on vacation that you’ve never been to, where would you go and why?
I’m dying to go to Thailand. I think the overall atmosphere there looks beautiful, and the architecture and history in Thailand are interesting.
What is your favorite food to eat before or after a game?
Peanut butter and jelly and a banana are by far my favorite pregame foods.
Best place to eat in Shrub Oak and why?
Bob-B-Q’s, there’s no question about that. I’ve liked everything I’ve tried there. The people are so nice, and they have the best food in town. I highly recommend the Santa Fe Wrap and macaroni and cheese.
What advice would you give to a young field hockey player growing up in Shrub Oak?
Field hockey is definitely not a mainstream sport, but once you give it a chance, you can really fall in love with the game. I think that it’s important to always work hard, and practice outside of any programs you’re involved in. Most players on my team are at the turf practicing several days every week, during our offseason. Also, take advantage of the SOAC field hockey program, and really take in what all of the older players and coach Sarsen teach you.