Kingston, ON - Hailey Bauder and Gates McAllister, soon to be grade 12 students at Holy Cross Catholic Secondary School (HCCSS) in Kingston, were selected to train with Field Hockey Canada’s (FHC) NextGen (U18) Program this summer.
After winning a silver medal at Field Hockey Canada’s National Championships in Surrey, British Columbia in Summer 2022, Bauder and McAllister were both invited to participate in a competitive tryout process. Bauder received confirmation that she was chosen to join the elite squad of Field Hockey Canada's NextGen Program in September, during which time McAllister continued with the Targeted Athlete Program (TAP), before receiving the invitation to joining the NextGen Program in June.
The mandatory twice weekly NextGen practices are hosted at the University of Toronto’s athletic fields. The students are required to travel to the GTA eight times a month as a minimum requirement to train with FHC. “Practices run year-round with a break from August to November to accommodate the high school and university field hockey seasons” explains Bauder. “An average of 20-30 hours per week is required to train at this level,” she said. This number includes practices, cardio and strength training, but not travel time. Hailey Bauder (left) and Gates McAllister (right), grade 12 student athletes who have been invited to join the Field Hockey Canada’s NextGen Program this summer.
McAllister, captain of her high school field hockey team and Dolphins Field Hockey Club team, and former captain for Team Ontario (U16), describes last season as her best yet. “The 2022 season was a year of accomplishments,” said McAllister. “I won a silver medal, was recognized as top 11 and was ranked the second top goal scorer at National’s last year, and my U16 club team won four tournaments, including the Ontario Summer Games. The U18 club team I also play for won two gold medals and two bronze medals at tournaments, then I was selected to join the NextGen program,” she said. McAllister recently made Team Ontario (U18) this year and will compete at Nationals later in July in Brampton, Ontario.
In addition to training with the NextGen program at U of T, Bauder trains with Team Ontario (U18) in Brampton and the Dolphins Field Hockey Club (U18) in Scarborough, with an invitation to join Team Canada for their France Tour.
When asked about her favorite field hockey moments, Bauder describes her best times as those spent playing field hockey with the girls' team at HCCSS. “Making it to the finals in the Ontario Federation of School Athletic Association (OFSSA) in 2022 was an amazing experience and a memory that I will never forget. We brought home a silver medal, which was a huge achievement,” said Bauder.
Bauder, who has also had the experience of being captain of her high school and National team, goes on to describe her favorite parts of being a student athlete. “I like meeting new people, travelling around the world and being a team leader, mentoring inexperienced players and encouraging other students to start a new sport or join a team for the first time.”
Mia Sarris White, Special Education Resource Teacher and Department Head and Field Hockey coach for HCCSS has been coaching the girls since their grade 10 year and has followed both of their field hockey careers since they were in grade 7. “This past field hockey season, our team came together to complete an undefeated local season, which had us move on to the provincial championships. Playing at the provincial level not only allowed our team to flourish, with Hailey and Gates there at the helm, the girls lead us to win a historical silver OFSAA medal,” said White.
Being a student athlete requires determination and commitment on and off the field. Students are required to keep their grades up by doing schoolwork in the car while traveling to and from practices. To stay ahead, they need to plan ahead, prioritize and manage their time. “Having regular touch points with my teachers helps," says McAllister. “This way they work with me to establish a schedule that supports my completion of course work and accommodates my practice schedule and tournament dates,” she said.
“Joining a high school athletic team can add a wonderful dimension to a student's high school career,” explains White. “Right away in September they meet new, like-minded people, and they become a part of the school community in a special way,” she said.
McAllister describes being a student while playing sport at the national level as great training for adulthood. “The benefits of being a student athlete are that you gain skills that become very useful in life; teamwork, leadership, decision-making, problem-solving, and social skills. You also make lasting friendships with your teammates.”
Aspirations for both athletes include; playing varsity field hockey in the US or Canada and competing at the National level in hopes of competing in the Olympics.
“I’m so excited to see the development in these elite athletes,” says White. “Both girls are so gifted, and they have the love of sport and work ethic to go with their talents,” she said.