Sports

Wheaton’s 1983 field hockey team will reunite this fall

The 1983 Wheaton College field hockey team, which was the school’s first field hockey team to advance to the NCAA tournament, will reunite when it is inducted into the school’s athletic hall of fame.
The 1983 Wheaton College field hockey team, which was the school’s first field hockey team to advance to the NCAA tournament, will reunite when it is inducted into the school’s athletic hall of fame.Marvin Pave

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Debi Field McGrath, head coach of the 1983 Wheaton College field hockey team that advanced to the NCAA Division 3 tournament for the first time in program history, has moved on and is now the longtime director of athletics at Colby-Sawyer College.

But her memories of that special team remain vivid and exhilarating.

“I knew this team was incredibly talented — but I was never going to tell them that because they had to realize it on their own,’’ recalled McGrath.

Walpole High graduates and lifelong friends Paula McFarland-Mayo and Maribeth Burke were freshmen starters on that team. Janet Kelly who grew up in Cheshire, Conn., and now resides in Quincy, was an All-American defender and “the cornerstone of our team,’’ according to McGrath.

All four will be recognized Oct. 4 at the Norton school’s Beard Field House when the inaugural Yowell Athletic Hall of Fame class will be enshrined. The field hockey squad, which went 13-3 and defeated host Salem State, 2-0, in the NCAA tournament’s first round, will be inducted as a group.

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