In April, Ella Gaitan ’24 and Milaw Clause ’24 competed for the USA U18 Junior National Women’s Field Hockey team. During their European tour, they traveled to the Netherlands, Germany and Belgium. As nationally ranked field hockey players, both of these Blair stars played well through international competition representing the United States.
Ella played forward and earned a total of three goals and one assist during the games. She scored two goals against the Netherlands. She was also named team captain for the tough 3-4 loss against Belgium.
“Representing the United States in and of itself is an honor, being abroad was just the cherry on top. I have been dreaming of this since I started field hockey in second grade, and to see it all come to fruition is surreal,” said Ella. “Finally getting some recognition for my hard work has been very rewarding, but it's more about this amazing opportunity that I was blessed with and the people who have helped me get there, including my club coach Brett Clay and Coach Schulman. My favorite part of the trip was getting to try different cuisines and be engulfed in different cultures. It was my first time out of the country and it was just an unforgettable experience.”
Additionally, Milaw was a strong contributor to the team, who made a lot of scoring plays for the Americans. She played multiple positions, including defense and midfield, and was involved in defensive corners as the fly or post position. The team's overall record was 1-2-1.
"It was a once in a lifetime experience and a dream come true. Putting on the USA uniform for the first time was a surreal experience. I feel lucky and blessed to have been given this opportunity to play for my country," said Milaw. "For the past few years, I have worked extremely hard and sacrificed many things. I finally feel like the hard work and dedication has paid off. My short period of time at Blair has helped me in many different ways. I have met many positive coaches, teachers, classmates and teammates that have given me the confidence to believe in myself. Coach Schulman’s positive attitude, coaching style and stress of teamwork, along with her support have been extremely influential in my recent accomplishments."
Both Ella and Milaw were key players in this year’s historic Blair field hockey season that ended in securing the 2022 NJISAA prep A state championship.
“They have worked so hard to become the best athletes and teammates they can be,” said Pamela Schulman, Blair's head field hockey coach. “We are thrilled they were given the opportunity to play for and represent the United States abroad. To have not one, but two Blair players on the team is amazing. We are very proud of them, and we are looking forward to their senior season.”