Brittany Croll, an Indian River alumnus and recent graduate of Franklin and Marshall, has been honored numerous times in her life by her peers for both academic and athletic achievements. She served as her class valedictorian in 2002, and made countless athletic and academic All-Star teams throughout her high school and college career, including being named as a Division III collegiate All-American selection.
But even after graduation, the hits keep coming for Croll.
Croll traveled this month with three-time national champion field hockey coach Dawn Chamberlin of Salisbury University, among others, to Curacao in the Dutch Antilles to play for the United States Athletes International women’s field hockey team, Aug. 6-12.
The U.S.A. Athletes International Inc. is a non-profit organization dedicated to giving amateur athletes and coaches an opportunity to participate in international Olympic-style sporting events around the world.
Players are invited to the team based on their athletic performance throughout college, and Croll’s accolades certainly fit the bill for such a prestigious honor.
She was the Diplomats’ leading scorer, with 16 goals and nine assists for 41 points. Croll led the Centennial Conference in shots per game (5.35 spg) and ranked second in shots (91), points (40), points per game (2.35 ppg), goals (16), goals per game (0.94 gpg), assists (eight), assists per game (0.47 apg) and game-winning goals (four) through games on Oct. 31.
She concluded her collegiate field hockey career with 52 goals and 23 assists for 127 points, to rank first in points in the program’s history.
“This was a great opportunity,” Croll said, “and a great way to end my college career.”
Croll had the opportunity to play with some of the best talent the United States could offer and also played co-ed field hockey with male athletes from the Curacao national team.
“It’s always interesting to play someone bigger, stronger and faster,” Croll said of the Curacao experience, “though it was a low-pressure environment field hockey-wise.”
“They play a clever style of European hockey. It’s all about positioning on the field and moving to the ball instead of chasing it. [The Curacao national team] were kind of coaching us while we were playing them.”
Croll had played with a number of her new teammates throughout college and that might have made for some competitive friction — but, apparently, the island atmosphere rubbed off on everyone.
“It was nice to be on a team with girls from so many different field hockey backgrounds,” Croll said. “Sometimes, when you don’t know someone, you might get uptight. But this group was totally cool about everything.”
“Island life is very laid-back and low-key,” she added. “People are very nice and very hospitable. It was a great opportunity to integrate ourselves into a different culture.
Curacao is an ethnically diverse island with an Afro-Caribbean majority. It is located just off the coast of Venezuela. Curacao’s ethnic diversity is evident in their language. They speak a conglomerate of Papiamento, Dutch, Portuguese, Spanish and English — sometimes all at once — to form their own native language.
Croll and her teammates were thrown a welcoming party their first night in Curacao, had an opportunity to go on a tours of their national parks and went snorkeling in crystal-clear Caribbean waters.
Now that her field hockey career appears to finally be over, Croll will complete a year-long internship for Envirotech before going on to graduate school for a master’s degree in international and environmental studies.