Rehme’s Indians ministering to rising student athletes
A hundred miles away from their long-time field hockey coach, former players of Caryn Rehme’s still smile when remembering the mark she left at Northumberland High School. Now coaches and officials of the game themselves, the four are passing along their lessons to the rising student-athletes.
Last week, Lancaster and Northumberland finished their regular season and set their eyes on the conference playoffs.
Kelly Winstead, Ashly Hudson, Rachel Cralle and Kacie Cockrell, all graduates of Northumberland High School, are using their field hockey experiences to coach and instruct rising student athletes.
Rachel Cralle, Kacie Cockrell, Ashly Hudson and Kelly Winstead are four of those graduates who played under the direction of Rehme in the 2000s. Hudson and Cralle coach the Northumberland Field Hockey Program, while their former teammate in Cockrell is an assistant coach at their rival school in Lancaster and Winstead is a field hockey official.
Rehme said she was surprised when she saw the four together.
Cralle succeeded former coach Mark Fridenstine as the varsity field hockey. This is her first season as the head coach and is joined by first year JV head coach Hudson.
“We love it and I think it’s something we wanted to do when we were playing,” Cralle said.
In 1998, the thought of Rehme creating a team came about after Michele Jennings became first coach at Lancaster High School. Rehme and her husband John were renting a home behind Jennings.
“It pretty much gave me the idea and someone else we can play against,” Rehme said.
The veteran coach, now sports official and volunteer coach, said the National Field Hockey Association was instrumental in assisting the first team at Northumberland. The association provided goals, pennies, sticks and a number of other tools following a proposal written by Rehme.
She added that the staff for the school division and members of the school board was supportive of the effort.
In 1999, the first club team was formed at Northumberland High School and then a year later became a member of the Virginia High School League. Northumberland gained in Rehme a four-year field hockey player from Radford University and standout at Meadowbrook High School in Richmond. They made three appearances to the state tournament with VHSL after some rigorous training.
Hudson said a lot of Rehme’s quotes and habits still have an impact on the program.
“A lot of what we do now is what coach Rehme taught us is how we push the girls like not walking everywhere. Just a lot of her coaching styles I try to use as my own and try to shape, mold and impact them the way she did us,” Hudson said.
During Rehme’s tenure the team competed in the Callao 5K, performed the logs and tires drill, travelled to the ropes course in Middlesex and York County High School for overnight trips. One of the
Caryn Rehme was the first head field hockey coach at Northumberland High School.
highlights was attending the midnight madness tournament when the girls would play from midnight to 6 a.m. in Poquoson.
Rock, a former assistant coach and current P.E. teacher at Northumberland Middle School, said she chuckles hearing the current players complain about the intensity of practices.
“I just chuckle because it was what we used to do,” Rock said, adding that the girls used to run with telephone poles and still run with the hockey sticks.
“They had to carry the telephone poles, but it made them strong. What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger,” Rock said, adding that it was great times and enjoys seeing all the girls now after those years.
“They absolutely took a lot away from Caryn and my coaching style and is similar to ours,” Rock said. “They are just doing a great job and I’m proud of them.”
Kelly Winstead, formally Fridenstine, picked up officiating the sport shortly after graduating in 2005.
“I’ve been officiating for five or six years now and I love it because it’s my closest way to stay with field hockey. I love the sport so much I couldn’t leave it alone entirely,” Winstead said.
Winstead went on to earn her bachelors degree in mathematics from the University of Mary Washington and is employed by MTEQ in Kilmarnock and pursing her masters in accounting.
Rehme went on to coach and teach special education at the middle school for seven years. She is now at Pocahontas Middle School in Powhatan serving as a middle school guidance counselor, volunteers as a coach for the Powhatan High School Field Hockey Team, has been in education for 18 years and has three children.
Seeing the girls now makes her and the former coaching staff members of Rock and Jennings proud.
“I am very proud that I am a part of a tradition that continues to grow in the Northern Neck,” Jennings said. “[It gave them] an opportunity for girls to increase their athletic talents and experience a sport that embraces a sense of family. The communication, trust, physical strength that it takes to move that ball down the field to score takes a team-no “i” in that, but a team of players.”
Mark Fridenstine said it was cool to see all four of them on the field at one time this season. He coached seven seasons following his time as an official.
“It’s just so exciting to see them come back and I know they all love it. I guarantee you, if you gave them all a stick they would be out there on the field doing everything they can to play,” Fridenstine said.
Rehme said as a coach it can be frustrating at times with ups and downs, but she hoped that each day she touched them in some way. Seeing the girls now makes her proud that they are giving back to their community.
“I don’t know going in what my goal was, but I think with coaching I had some great coaches I learned from and it was more so about the experience,” Rehme said. “It was really about the team and them working together.”
Cockrell said Rehme had a huge impact on her life when she started on the practice squad in middle school. Today she is now a special education teacher at Lancaster High School like Rehme was in the early 2000s.
Cockrell said she believes it was important to share Rehme’s lessons with other student athletes including those at Northumberland’s rival school in Lancaster.
“She was totally my inspiration in high school,” Cockrell said. “She was a wonderful coach that pushed me to my limits and to be able to come back and do the same thing with other players and maybe have half of the impact she had on me for them is just amazing.”